The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Energy investors advised to “cut their losses” and dump Hinkley nuclear reactor

protest-Hinkley-CEDF should ‘cuts its losses’ as Hinkley plans come under threat, Western Morning News 18 Apr 15  Campaigners are calling on energy investors to “cut their losses” on plans for a new reactor at Hinkley Point after a “very serious” fault was discovered in a similar French scheme.

Members of the Stop Hinkley group say project backers EDF should “give up” on plans for two new nuclear reactors at the Somerset plant and pursue a more “sensible” sustainable energy strategy. The comments come as French officials revealed details of an anomaly that occurred during the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Normandy.

EDF Energy, which will own and operate the Hinkley plant, said further investigations would be carried out on the development as soon as possible.

But the revelation has given rise to concerns about the future of Britain’s power supply, as Hinkley was expected to generate roughly 16% of the country’s electricity by the mid-2020s.

The problem with the new reactor at Flamanville is understood to surround the quality of the steel used to construct a casing around the reactor, known as the pressure vessel. Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of France’s nuclear safety inspectorate, said it was potentially “very serious” as it involved “a crucial part” of the reactor.

He added that the same manufacturing techniques had been used for the identical casings intended for Hinkley Point, which “have already been manufactured”.

Plans to develop a new generation of British reactors at Hinkley go back to the last Labour government in January 2008. The EPR reactors chosen for the site use pressurised water and are built to resist the impact of a commercial airline crash……..

Alan Jeffery, spokesman for Stop Hinkley, suggested the company should abandon its plans for the Somerset plant and start pursuing alternative options for the Westcountry.

“EDF Energy should cut its losses and give up on Hinkley C now, so that the South West can get on with developing a sensible sustainable energy strategy,” he said.

“To tackle climate change effectively we need to get started on energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes now, not waiting around for the nuclear industry to sort out its problems first.

“We don’t need this massive project that is going to leave us with a legacy of highly dangerous nuclear waste and radioactive emissions into our environment.”

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April 20, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Finland’s nuclear regulator demands safety check for Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor’s pressure vessel

Nuclear watchdog seeks re-check of Olkiluoto 3 reactor yle 18 Apr 15 The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) is demanding that energy utility TVO carry out new tests of the durability of the pressure vessel planned for the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor. This follows a recent discovery by French officials of inconsistencies in the mechanical toughness of a vessel made for a similar reactor, also being built by the French company Areva.

pressure vessel olkiluoto

The third unit for the Flamanville, France reactor was built by Areva in France, while the one to be used in the Finnish reactor has been assembled in Japan. Both units are of the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) type.

“There are inconsistencies in the material that the reactor vessel is made of,” Tapani Virolainen, Deputy Director of STUK’s Nuclear Reactor Regulation Department, confirmed to Yle…….Virolainen explains that anomalies were found in both the reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head. He says STUK will ask TVO to re-check the reactor vessel’s manufacturing process…….

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Finland, safety, technology | Leave a comment

UK’s £14bn Hinkley project – future now in doubt, as faults found in identical French project

Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantUK nuclear strategy faces meltdown as faults are found in identical French projecThe faults could also scare off the Chinese state investors who are supposed to cover part of the cost of the £14bn Hinkley project Independent JOHN LICHFIELD Author Biography PARIS Friday 17 April 2015 A “very serious” fault has been discovered in a French nuclear power station which is at the heart of David Cameron’s strategy to “keep the lights on” in Britain in the next decade.

The future of two nuclear reactors planned for Hinkley Point in Somerset has been thrown into doubt by the discovery of a potentially catastrophic mistake in the construction of an identical EPR power plant in Normandy.

“It is a serious fault, even a very serious fault, because it involves a crucial part of the nuclear reactor,” said Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of France’s nuclear safety inspectorate.

A second investigation has been ordered into the quality of the steel used to make a 50ft-high safety casing, or “pressure vessel”, which encloses the groundbreaking new reactor at Flamanville, near Cherbourg. If the steel proves to be defective, the completion of the prototype EPR plant – already behind schedule and nearly three times over budget – could be delayed for several years.

Mr Chevet also revealed that the same manufacturing techniques had been used in the steel for the identical safety casings destined for Hinkley Point, which “have already been manufactured”.

The fault could undermine the already fragile finances of the French state-owned nuclear construction company Areva, which is supposed to build two EPR reactors at Hinkley by 2023 and a third at Sizewell in Suffolk. It could also scare off the Chinese state investors who are supposed to cover part of the cost of the £14bn Hinkley project, intended to supply six per cent of Britain’s energy needs for six decades.

A final “investment” decision for Hinkley, several times delayed, is now expected in June. The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called a crisis meeting on 17 April to discuss the threat posed by the fault to France’s nuclear construction industry – the largest in the world.

Mark Hackett, a councillor in Manchester who chairs Nuclear Free Local Authorities, said: “This is a devastating blow to proponents of new-build nuclear power stations in the UK. It is likely to scare off the Chinese backers. If I was a betting man, I would now bet that Hinkley Point will never be built.”

Yannick Rousselet, of Greenpeace France, said the latest problems to beset the prototype power station in Normandy are “clearly the coup de grâce for the EPR idea”. He asked: “What foreign client would want to buy this reactor when France itself is not capable of completing its construction?”

Apart from Britain, the United States and China are in the process of buying versions of the new generation of European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) – supposedly safer and more efficient – from France. Both Areva and Eléctricité de France (EDF), the French energy giant which will own and operate Hinkley Point, have refused to comment in detail………

Sources in the French nuclear industry told the newspaper Le Parisien yesterday that dismantling the faulty pressure vessel and ordering and manufacturing a new one could take several years. “If the weakness of the steel is proved, I don’t hold out much hope for the survival of the EPR project,” a former senior nuclear safety official told Le Parisien………..

April 18, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Future of the entire Flamanville-3 project with more problems at EPR nuclear reactor

safety-symbol-Smflag-franceMore Problems for the EPR, NuClear News April 15  The French Nuclear Safety Regulator, ASN, announced on 7th April that it had been informed by AREVA of an anomaly in the composition of the steel in certain zones of the reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head of the Flamanville EPR. (1) These fabrication defects are very serious mechanical faults. Quality inspectors found an abnormally high concentration of carbon in steel parts capping the reactor vessel’s top and bottom during a series of tests carried outpressure vessel 1 by French nuclear company Areva, which is building the reactor. The excessive carbon would lead to “lower than expected mechanical toughness values”, nuclear regulator ASN said in a press statement on its website. This obviously raises a question-mark over the safety case for the EPR (European Pressurized Water Reactor) currently under construction in Normandy. The reason why a well‐known material heterogeneity problem was not mastered during the forging of the pieces at Areva’s Le Creusot plant has yet to be investigated. The reason why the defects were detected or publicly released so late, at a moment when the pressure vessel was already in place in the reactor building, also needs to be scrutinised.
Areva will face a very difficult challenge in justifying the safety case of the flawed pressure vessel. The only alternative to demonstrating safety in spite of the faults would be to repair or replace the faulty components, which appears hardly feasible and particularly expensive in the case of the bottom piece. Therefore the future of the entire Flamanville-3 project is at stake. The No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.73, April 2015 3 problem has also international implications, since at least some of the upper and/or lower heads of the Taishan-1 and 2 EPRs, under construction in China, are apparently also concerned. …..

April 18, 2015 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Jean-Paul Baquiast – a nuclear war against Russia would finish USA

atomic-bomb-lUS Will Not Survive a Nuclear War Against Russia – Jean-Paul Baquiast A nuclear strikes exchange between the United States and Russia will lead to the complete destruction of the United States, leaving Russia and China in a far better position, editor of the French portal Europesolidaire Jean-Paul Baquiast said.

 A potential nuclear war with Russia will have fatal consequences for the US, whose territory would be completely destroyed in the event of mutual rocket exchange, Jean-Paul Baquiast said.

His comment came in the wake of recent internet speculation about the US’ possible intent to carry out a preemptive nuclear attack on Russia. The concerns have risen after General Robin Rand was appointed as head of the US Air Force Global Strike Command.

There are assumptions that he might take an example from American General Curtis LeMay who became famous in 1949 for preparing a plan for a massive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.

Unable to subdue Russia by conventional methods, Washington is preparing to destroy it with its armed forces, Jean-Paul Baquiast wrote. In the event of an armed conflict, American politicians may carry out a preemptive nuclear strike.

“Chances of the United States to destroy Russia without consequences for itself are small,” Baquiast said.

However, even the highly efficient S-500 missile system, which Russia is currently working on, would be unable to protect the country against a massive launch of ballistic missiles from US submarines, he noted.

In turn, Russia would launch its missiles from its submarines off the coast of the United States. And if the Americans manage to hit only a part of the Russian territory due to its large size, the US will be destroyed completely, the journalist wrote.

April 18, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

No easy fix for France’s multi-billion dollar Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR)

exclamation-flag-franceFrance’s nuclear power giant beset by setbacks France 24 17 April 15  France, which has one of the most advanced nuclear energy systems in the world, is struggling to remain a major player in the nuclear field as its state-owned company Areva leaks cash and faces safety concerns.

France’s nuclear security authority ASN (Autorité de surete nucléaire) last week declared that a multi-billion dollar Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) being built by Areva in Flamanville, Normandy has “a serious anomaly”.

The anomaly comes at a difficult time for the French company as it faces a host of setbacks related to the construction of nuclear power plants around the world. ……..

“Either EDF abandons the project or it takes out the vessel and starts building a new one… this would be a very heavy operation in terms of cost and delay,” Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of the ASN, told the French daily ‘Le Parisien’.

So what next for the EPR?

Overall, there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix.

Yannick Rousselet, a nuclear specialist at Greenpeace in France, says that replacing the tank in Flamanville is more difficult than one might think.

“The tank is the only element that you cannot move easily,” Rousselet told FRANCE 24.

“Historically, tanks were not designed with the idea of dismantling them. In addition, the one at Flamanville is already welded in place, and fixed to the pipe of the reactor.”

Because EDF is state-owned, tax payers will ultimately pay the bill for the expensive project, says Rousselet.

“It’s the French who will pay for the mistakes. Officials collectively took us to a dead end.”…….

April 18, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety | Leave a comment

Surge in renewable energy trade n Europe

Renewable energy surge revives Europe’s power trade FRANKFURT/LONDON | BY VERA ECKERT AND NINA CHESTNEY(Reuters) 17 Apr 15 – The rise of renewable energy is delivering a boost to Europe’s declining power market as traders get busy in short term deals to juggle unpredictable supplies of wind and solar.

Exchanges show more trade as suppliers buy and sell power closer to when demand will appear, to meet their delivery obligations, because electricity cannot be stored effectively. New players are also attracted by lower capital requirements and risks.

“As the percentage of renewables generation increases, the need for short-term adjustments will grow, reflecting the limited precision of forecasts for wind and solar generation in comparison to schedules of conventional thermal plants,” said Bonn-based independent energy consultant Thomas Niedrig.

“Over the last five years, (spot) volumes jumped by 25 percent, making the spot sector a growth star in difficult times,” UK research company Prospex said in a study………

German government data shows renewables capacity almost quadrupled from 2003 to 2014 and renewables now account for 26 percent of total electricity generation………

The market leader is the Nordic countries’ Nord Pool Spot, followed by EPEX Spot, Italy’s GME, Spain’s OMIE and N2EX in Britain, according to Prospex.

EPEX last December introduced a German auction for 15 minute intraday power, held at 3pm in the afternoon of the previous day as a tool to concentrate liquidity.

A number of big trading houses already active in EPEX Spot’s short term market, among them Geneva’s Vitol SA, Noble Clean Fuels Ltd. and Total Gas & Power, signed up for it in 2015, it said.

But there is also money to be made by smaller operators.

“Whereas previously intraday trading was largely the preserve of utilities…now it’s definitely very much in vogue and seen as a profitable activity, especially with the flexibility of not being tied to assets,” said Chris Panton, senior analyst at Energy Fundamentals, a London based investment and advisory firm……

April 18, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE | Leave a comment

France’s State owned nuclear company AREVA now a costly burden

nuclear-costs1Areva Is Costing France Plenty The company thought it had a winning nuclear reactor technology Nuclear plants supply almost three-fourths of France’s electricity, and they boast a near-spotless safety record and some of the cheapest electric rates in Europe. In 2001 the government created a state-owned company, Areva, to export French reactors and nuclear know-how to the rest of the world. Those ambitions are now in tatters, offering an object lesson in the dangers of French dirigiste industrial policy.
Beset by a troubled new reactor design and other expensive problems, Areva posted a €4.8 billion ($5.1 billion) loss in 2014 on sales of €8.3 billion. Revenue is expected to shrink 5 percent this year, and the company says it expects to keep hemorrhaging cash. The French government plans to announce a rescue plan before the end of April that’s likely to include asset sales and a bailout from state-owned utility Electricité de France (EDF). “There have been significant strategic errors,” François Brottes, who heads the French Parliament’s economic affairs commission, said at a conference in Paris on March 31. Added Brottes: “Questions have to be asked about the state’s oversight.”

Areva, along with competing reactor builders Westinghouse Electric and General Electric, was hit hard when orders dried up after the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan. Cheap shale gas and development of renewable energy have compounded those woes. But “you can’t really blame Areva’s plight on Fukushima,” says Steve Kidd, a British nuclear consultant and former executive of the World Nuclear Association, a London-based trade group.

 Under longtime Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon and her successors, Areva bet heavily on a high-end new design, the Evolutionary Pressurized Reactor, that has been plagued with delays and cost overruns. Lauvergeon, who left Areva in mid-2011 when her contract wasn’t renewed, didn’t respond to messages.

Areva’s loss in 2014, on sales of $8.9 billion
French authorities reported on April 7 that flaws were found in some of the steel used in the reactor vessel of an EPR being built in Normandy. That reactor is five years behind schedule, and its price tag has ballooned from $3.5 billion to $9.3 billion. Areva also is facing an investigation of its 2007 acquisition of Uramin, a Canadian uranium mining company. In 2011, Areva wrote off almost all of the $2.5 billion purchase price after concluding that the ore deposits were of negligible value. The government’s chief auditor, who faulted management for inadequate oversight and possible “dissimulation,” asked prosecutors to look into the Uramin purchase.

The next step for Areva may be a tieup with EDF, its top customer—an idea that horrified the utility’s investors, who dumped the stock after Energy Minister Ségolène Royal suggested it in March. Other government officials have suggested that Areva might work with EDF on engineering and maintenance, stopping short of a full merger.

The company still makes money supplying fuel and reprocessing waste for nuclear plant owners. It’s already clear, though, that Areva won’t be selling many new reactors. North American and European utilities stopped ordering them after the Fukushima accident, and the EPR’s problems have cast a pall over the company’s prospects in China, which now accounts for more than half of the new reactors expected to come online by 2030. Thanks to past collaboration with Areva and other Western suppliers, the Chinese have developed the technology they need to build their own reactors, says Steve Thomas, a professor at the University of Greenwich in England who studies the industry. The reactors built by Areva and Westinghouse “are just too expensive for the Chinese,” he says.

The French government’s 80 percent ownership of Areva helped mask its problems, consultant Kidd says. “Everyone was laughing” at the company’s projections for reactor sales, he says. “Everyone in the know could tell the chickens were going to come home to roost. I don’t think that would have happened in a private business.”

—With Francois de Beaupuy and Tara Patel

The bottom line: Areva’s bid to be the globally dominant maker of reactors was undone by cost overruns and strategic blunders.

April 17, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Global nuclear industry threatened as safety problems revealed at Flamanville reactor

Unfinished nuclear plants raise safety doubts. April 13, 2015 A new generation of giant reactors, meant to provide fresh hope for nuclear power in Europe, has been found to have a serious safety problem. By Paul Brown Climate News Network LONDON − The future of the world’s biggest nuclear reactor, under construction at Flamanville in northern France, is now in doubt after a serious flaw was found in its steel pressure vessel.


Examination has shown that the steel contains too much carbon, which can weaken the vessel’s structure and breaches safety rules. The Chinese, who have two similar 1,600 megawattEuropean Pressurised Reactors under construction, have been warned that they too may share the potentially catastrophic problem.

Investigations are continuing to check whether the problem can be rectified, but whatever happens it will add more delays and greater costs to the already troubled projects.

The problem also casts doubt on the much-heralded nuclear renaissance in Europe, where EPR reactors are being built not only in France but also in Finland.

Four more are planned for Britain, where they form a cornerstone of the UK government’s policy to fight climate change. A decision on whether to go ahead with the first two in the UK has already been postponed twice, and this revelation will cause further delays.

The French nuclear engineering firm Areva, involved in the EPR’s design and development, found the flawed steel and reported the problem to the country’s nuclear regulator, ASN, which has ordered an investigation.  The French energy minister, Ségolène Royal, says the results of tests to check the extent of the problem will be released in October. Continue reading

April 15, 2015 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

100% renewable energy economically feasible for France: government report

renewable-energy-pictureflag-franceFRENCH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: 100% RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY BY 2050 IN FRANCE WOULD NOT COST MORE THAN 50% NUCLEAR following is a brief summary of a piece that appeared in France’s center-left newspaper Le Monde, which reported on a piece published by Mediapart:

 A report written by the French Environment and Energy Agency (Ademe) has concluded that supplying the nation’s electricity demand with renewables by 2050 would cost about the same as the plan currently favored by President and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, which is to meet France’s power needs with 50% nuclear, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuel by 2050.

Ademe was reportedly to have shared the document with the public on April 14-15, but postponed it was not ready. However, a copy of the report was obtained by the French media and released to to the public, with the aim of raising the debate on French energy policy.

The 120 page report was written with the contribution of the General Direction of energy and climate, which functions under the French Minister of Ecology, and with “an objective of robustness and scientific solidity, the hypotheses and results were vetted by a scientific committee of national and international experts.”

Other highlights from the report, include:
– The potential for electricity generation by renewables in France by 2050 (1268 TWh a year) is triple the nation’s projected electricity demand for that time (422 TWh). Reaching this goal would require demand management that lowers consumption by 14%, despite a projected population increase of 6 million inhabitants.

– Achieving a 100% renewable electricity mix will require diversity of sources. The study projects a mix of 63% offshore and onshore wind, 17% solar, 13% hydro, and 7% thermal energy (including geothermal). The regions with the strongest renewable development potential are the Aquitane, Brittany, Midi-Pyrénées, the Pays de la Loire, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Rhône-Alpes.
– The report assumes that pre-tax consumer electricity costs will rise about 30% by mid century whether France opts for a 100% renewable power mix, or a combination of 50% nuclear power, 40% renewables, and 10% fossil fuel (primarily gas).

– Between 2019 and 2025, almost half of France’s 58 nuclear reactors will reach the 40 year lifespan for which they were designed. Even if they are granted a license extension, they must be replaced by newer technology that has continually been rising in price. Decommissioning of the reactors also adds to costs.


April 15, 2015 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Secret funding of Israel’s nuclear bomb, by West Germany

West Germany ‘secretly funded Israel’s nuclear bomb’, despite Israel denials, Telegraph UK
Former chancellor Konrad Adenauer has long been accused of secretly channelling hundreds of millions of dollars into Israel’s nuclear programme in the 1960s  
By Justin Huggler, Berlin 14 Apr 2015

 West Germany secretly funded the development of Israel’s nuclear weapons, a German newspaper has claimed, despite Israeli denials.

Welt newspaper repeated long-standing allegations that the government of former chancellor Konrad Adenauer secretly channelled hundreds of millions of dollars into Israel’s nuclear programme in the 1960s.

The newspaper insisted the claims were true, despite a categorical denial earlier this month from Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president, who was in charge of the nuclear weapons project at the time.

In a detailed report, Welt claimed the funds were disguised as a $500 million (£338 million) loan for the development of the Negev desert.

The arrangement was agreed at a meeting between Mr Adenauer and David Ben-Gurion, the Israeli prime minister, in New York in 1960, the newspaper claimed.

The agreement was informal and was never scrutinised by the West German cabinet or parliament.

It was known as “Aktion Geschäftsfreund”, or “Operation Business Associate” by the West German foreign ministry.

The funds were channelled to Israel through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, a government-owned development bank.

The bank has declined to release details of its payments to Israel under the programme………

Explicit details and photographs of its weapons project were leaked by Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, in 1986.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | Germany, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Time Britain called it a day for Trident nuclear weapons

It’s time for Britain to move on from nuclear weapons

Pinning our security on a nuclear deterrent encourages others to do the same The election campaign to date suggests that decommissioning Trident nuclear weapons is a dangerous, minority demand led by the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru. Yet poll after poll reveals that it is in fact a majority popular demand throughout the UK. One poll recently revealed that 81% of 500 general election candidates are opposed to renewal. There are increasingly obvious reasons why we think it’s time to move on from Trident.

Pinning our security on a nuclear deterrent encourages others to do the same. The UK should become the first permanent member of the UN Security Council to give up all its nuclear weapons, transforming the nuclear club from within. Instead of protecting us, hosting nuclear weapons makes us a target for the disaffected. And any accident would lead to a humanitarian disaster. Having nuclear weapons diverts resources and attention from tackling our most urgent security problems, including climate and environmental destruction.

Finally, continuing to invest in nuclear weapons is actively depleting military and other effective defences we might need in the 21st century. We should invest military spending on conflict prevention. By moving on from Trident, we can more effectively serve the needs and the potential of our country and a changing world. ; Helena Kennedy QCYoung Fathers, Mercury prizewinners; Prof Peter Higgs, 2014 Nobel prize for physics; Vivienne Westwood, designer and activist; Frankie Boyle, comedian; Neal Lawson, Compass; Gabrielle Rifkind, Oxford Research Group; Konnie Huq, presenter; Massive AttackSir Michael Atiyah, ex-president of the Royal Society; Marina Cantacuzino, founder of The Forgiveness Project; Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future; Robin McAlpine, director, Common Weal; Kamila Shamsie, writer; Lindsey Coulson, actress

April 13, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Agressive pro nuclear propaganda in Turkey (a taste of what’s to come, globally?)

nuke-spruikersSmflag-TurkeyNuclear energy: An unpopular product on sale  JOOST LAGENDIJK

I first noticed the advertisements on a tram I boarded in İstanbul last week. Later I saw huge billboards along major roads and a TV commercial trying to promote the same product: nuclear energy. For one moment I hesitated: Did I miss something and was Turkey already able to provide electricity from nuclear reactors? A quick check taught me it wasn’t at all far: Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, at Akkuyu, near Mersin, is still in the first phase of construction and will most probably only start producing electricity in 2023. So why then spend so much money on marketing a product that is not for sale in the foreseeable future?

For decades Turkey has tried to acquire its own nuclear power plants. For all kind of political and financial reasons, Ankara never managed to strike a deal with a foreign company to build one until in 2010 the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom came up with an offer that Turkey could not refuse. The Russians will build, own and operate the $20-billion Akkuyu nuclear power plant while the Turkish state will guarantee the purchase of most of the electricity produced there against a fixed price. Three years later, in 2013, Turkey signed a second deal with a Japanese/French consortium that will build and operate another nuclear plant in Sinop but that will only start delivering after 2023. For the moment, all attention is focused on Akkuyu.

You can be sure last week’s publicity offensive is only the first phase of a long campaign to convince the Turkish population of the benefits of nuclear energy. The Turkish government knows very well that for now, most Turks are either opposed to nuclear energy or at the very least very skeptical about the presumptive advantages. Nuclear energy is an unpopular product that will need massive marketing to get it accepted by the time it becomes available.

In the months and years to come we will witness a very professional public relations campaign with only one aim: To try to take away the doubts about nuclear energy and highlight the positives. The arguments in favor will be a combination of the general ones always promoted by the nuclear industry and some specific Turkish ones. Belonging to the first category are the following catchwords: Improved safety, low costs, cleaner than coal, major contribution to fighting climate change. On top of that will come several presumed national bonuses: It will decrease Turkey’s energy dependency and current account deficit and will increase the country’s status and prestige.
All these justifications will be challenged by a motley collection of environmentalists, academics and local activists from Akkuyu and Sinop who don’t want their towns to be the places where this controversial experiment is located.

All these justifications will be challenged by a motley collection of environmentalists, academics and local activists from Akkuyu and Sinop who don’t want their towns to be the places where this controversial experiment is located.

The arguments against nuclear power are well-known as well: The unresolved waste issue, the lethal impact of possible accidents, the brighter future of renewable alternatives such as sun and wind power, and, in the case of Turkey, the danger of earthquakes and the growing dependency on Russia.

In a timely, recently published book on Turkey’s nuclear future, edited by George Perkovich and Sinan Ülgen, another potential risk is stressed and that is the need for an independent regulatory nuclear agency that will give Turks and the international community confidence that safety will be an overriding imperative. Whether or not such an agency can be effective and, if need be, go against the government, depends according to the authors on the evolution of the Turkish state. Will independent institutions still be allowed to operate freely in a country where power is increasingly concentrated in a de facto presidential system with few checks and balances left intact?

These and all the classical questions on nuclear energy will hopefully be part of the debate we should have in Turkey in the upcoming years. My advice: Be critical of the slick and polished pro-nuclear advertising campaigns that will be launched to prepare the ground. Take your time to listen to the arguments of the opponents who, I admit, convinced me some time ago that going nuclear is an old-fashioned, 20th-century solution at a time when better, safer and cheaper alternatives are available.

April 11, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing of nuclear, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Only now, 29 years after the nuclear catastrophe, are Chernobyl reactors 1, 2 and 3 to be finally shut

exclamation-Smflag-UkraineFinal shutdown work authorized at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, April 10, 2015 The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has officially launched the decommissioning and dismantling of its first three units. The move to fully shutdown the plant comes 29 years after it became site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

The State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine has issued an order for the complete decommissioning of Units 1, 2 and 3 of the Chernobyl NPP.
chernobyl 2013

Though the Unit 4 reactor had been rendered inoperative in the 1986 meltdown, the first three continued to work for years after the devastating accident. Unit 2, 1 and 3 were put off the line in 1991, 1996 and 2000, respectively.Work will now be carried out to bring the three units into a “conserved” state in several stages, the first of which will take at least ten years, according to a statement on the plant’s website.……..A Chernobyl site operator said last year when the project was announced that its aim was to bring the three units “to a condition that ensures safe, controlled storage of radioactive substances and sources of ionizing radiation within them.”

A giant radiation shield is also currently being built around the site of the wrecked Unit 4 reactor as part of an effort to contain the radiation the site continues to leak. ……..

April 11, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Muzzling scientists: UK follows Canada’s lead

flag-UKflag-canadaFollowing Canada’s Bad Example, Now UK Wants To Muzzle Scientists And Their Inconvenient Truths
from the non-appliance-of-science dept Free Speech by Glyn MoodyWed, Apr 1st 2015

Techdirt has been following for a while Canada’s moves to stop scientists from speaking out about areas where the facts of the situation don’t sit well with the Canadian government’s dogma-based policies. Sadly, it looks like the UK is taking the same route. It concerns a new code for the country’s civil servants, which will also apply to thousands of publicly-funded scientists. As the Guardian reports:

Under the new code, scientists and engineers employed at government expense must get ministerial approval before they can talk to the media about any of their research, whether it involves GM crops, flu vaccines, the impact of pesticides on bees, or the famously obscure Higgs boson.


The fear — quite naturally — is that ministers could take days before replying to requests, by which time news outlets will probably have lost interest. As a result of this change, science organizations have sent a letter to the UK government, expressing their “deep concern” about the code. A well-known British neurobiologist, Sir Colin Blakemore, told the Guardian:

“The real losers here are the public and the government. The public lose access to what they consider to be an important source of scientific evidence, and the government loses the trust of the public,” Blakemore said.

Not only that, by following Canada’s example, the British government also makes it more likely that other countries will do the same, which will weaken science’s ability to participate in policy discussions around the world — just when we need to hear its voice most.

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April 10, 2015 Posted by | Canada, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment


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