Ukraine’s State Emergency Situations Service reported early Tuesday that the fire was within the exclusion zone, according to the Ukrainian news service Interfax. But the country’s Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources later told reporters the fire is burning outside of the zone. He added that the blaze started due to drought.
The fire started Monday night and was still burning Tuesday morning, the Associated Pressreported.
Firefighters are working 24 hours a day amidst strong winds, according to a post on the emergency service’s Facebook page. Radiation levels are within normal, the agency said.
In late April, the largest forest fire in Ukraine since 1992 came within 12 miles of the Chernobyl plant.
In February, researchers warned that fires nearby Chernobyl “pose a high risk of redistributing radioactivity.” And, say scientists, wildfires in the area could become more frequent and more intense due to climate change.
UK government and EDF anxious about Austria’s lawsuit against state aid for Hinkley Point nuclear station
Government and EDF in talks over liabilities if Austria wins nuclear state aid appeal, Telegraph, Energy giant and Government yet to agree what would happen if Austrian challenge against state aid for Hinkley Point C is successful By Emily Gosden, Energy Editor 30 Jun 2015 The Government and EDF are in talks over who will pick up the costs if Austria wins its appeal against the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant once construction has begun.
Plans for the £16bn Hinkley Point plant received state aid clearance from the European Commission last year but Austria has vowed to challenge this, alleging that subsidies for the project constitute illegal state aid.
Although the Government and EDF both insist the appeal, expected to be lodged this week, has no merit, it is understood they are yet to agree on what would happen in the unlikely event Austria does win.Andrea Leadsom, the new energy minister, said on Tuesday she was “confident that the key investment decision on Hinkley C will happen soon, which will enable construction to start”.
But speaking on the fringes of the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference, Ms Leadsom also confirmed that the Government was “looking very closely” at the issue of how the project could go ahead with a state aid challenge ongoing.Austria’s state aid appeal is likely to hang over the project for at least a year and potentially as long as six years – during which time billions of pounds would be spent on construction.
The Government and EDF are believed to be targeting a final investment decision by October.A series of issues remain outstanding including EDF’s takeover of reactor-maker Areva’s nuclear business, deals with Chinese investors, and finalising contracts with the Government.
Writing on legal website Lexology, lawyers at Shearman and Sterling LLP wrote: “While the prospect of success is low, even a small chance of success creates additional risk for project financiers.
“In a worst-case scenario, where the Commission makes an adverse decision, the UK Government’s support scheme – including the strike price and guarantee – would be ruled unlawful and unenforceable, with any aid already received having to be repaid. A competitor or other party with standing could apply to the UK national court to enforce this.
“While this outcome is the least likely, it may have a severely adverse impact on investors in the Hinkley Point C project.”
They added that “investors may find insuring themselves contractually (e.g., via indemnities or similar means) difficult” and that “any provision seeking protection from the UK Government for such an eventuality could itself risk being struck down as unlawful State aid”…..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11709083/Government-and-EDF-in-talks-over-liabilities-if-Austria-wins-nuclear-state-aid-appeal.html
France Loses Enthusiasm for Nuclear Power, Scientific American, Nuclear’s share of electricty will drop from 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025 due to loss of know-how and requirements for more renewable sources By Umair Irfan and ClimateWire | June 29, 2015“……..
A ‘once formidable institution’ declines….nuclear plants, by their nature, are big bets and take years to build. Laponche explained that the French nuclear industry anticipated 1,000 TWh of demand, but domestic needs have yet to top 600 TWh, leaving an oversupply. With the economic downturn and increasing energy efficiency, French electricity demand has remained level or declined in some instances.
Now, some of France’s reactors are showing wrinkles—France’s oldest reactor, Fessenheim 1, started operations in 1977—and officials need to decide whether to invest in costly safety upgrades to keep them operating or to decommission them, another expensive prospect that leaves open the possibility that fossil fuels may rise to meet the shortfall.
New reactors also are struggling. Areva’s third-generation nuclear reactor, EPR, is now under construction at four sites: two in China, one in France and one in Finland. All four are behind schedule, and the French and Finnish reactors have seen their costs more than double, suffering from quality control and management problems.
“The cost of construction of new nuclear is extraordinarily expensive,” said Antony Frogatt, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, an international affairs think tank. He observed that there are ways to extend the lives of existing reactors, but upgrades get progressively more expensive, and certain components, like reactor pressure vessels, cannot be replaced, so renewed operating licenses are only prolonging the inevitable.
And while France has reduced nuclear waste, it hasn’t eliminated the need to dispose of it. No country with nuclear power has a viable underground repository for waste, and proposed sites in France face public opposition, despite more widespread support for nuclear power.
On the other hand, France is the second largest renewable energy producer and consumer in Europe. Wavering solar and wind power don’t play well with baseload nuclear plants that prefer to run at full blast, so the French must find a way to cope with this imbalance if they are to meet the European Union’s directive to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020…….
To sum up, it’s a shrinking client base [for nuclear power] and a competitive market,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent international energy consultant. “The financial and economic situation is devastatingly bad.”
The New York Times reported that Areva hasn’t been profitable since 2010, accrued €4.8 billion in losses in 2014 and may lay off up to 6,000 workers. EDF may take over parts of Areva’s business…….
Areva puts U.S. nuclear radiation business Canberra up for sale PARIS, JUNE 29 French state-owned nuclear group Areva has begun the sale process for the planned disposal of its U.S. nuclear radiation measurement business Canberra, it said in a statement on Monday.
The sale of Canberra is part of a revamp of loss-making Areva, with utility EDF poised to buy its nuclear reactor business. (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by David Goodman) http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/29/areva-canberra-idUSL5N0ZF0H220150629
Fukushima Not Even Close To Being Under Control Oil Price, By ZeroHedge , 28 June 2015 Fukushima’s still radiating, self-perpetuating, immeasurable, and limitless, like a horrible incorrigible Doctor Who monster encounter in deep space.
Fukushima will likely go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century. Governments and corporations are not leveling with citizens about the risks and dangers; similarly, truth itself, as an ethical standard, is at risk of going to shambles as the glue that holds together the trust and belief in society’s institutions. Ultimately, this is an example of how societies fail.
Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents remain in temporary housing more than four years after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the outskirts of Fukushima have officially reopened to former residents, but many of those former residents are reluctant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is okay and safe.
Part of this reluctance has to do with radiation’s symptoms. It is insidious because it cannot be detected by human senses. People are not biologically equipped to feel its power, or see, or hear, touch or smell it (Caldicott). Not only that, it slowly accumulates over time in a dastardly fashion that serves to hide its effects until it is too late.
Chernobyl’s Destruction Mirrors Fukushima’s Future As an example of how media fails to deal with disaster blowback, here are some Chernobyl facts that have not received enough widespread news coverage: Over one million (1,000,000) people have already died from Chernobyl’s fallout.
Additionally, the Rechitsa Orphanage in Belarus has been caring for a very large population of deathly sick and deformed children. Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults.
Zhuravichi Children’s Home is another institution, among many, for the Chernobyl-stricken: “The home is hidden deep in the countryside and, even today, the majority of people in Belarus are not aware of the existence of such institutions” (Source: Chernobyl Children’s Project-UK).
One million (1,000,000) is a lot of dead people. But, how many more will die? Approximately seven million (7,000,000) people in the Chernobyl vicinity were hit with one of the most potent exposures to radiation in the history of the Atomic Age.
The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as “Death Valley.” It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent “dead zone.”
Additionally, over 25,000 died and 70,000 disabled because of exposure to extremely dangerous levels of radiation in order to help contain Chernobyl. Twenty percent of those deaths were suicides, as the slow agonizing “death march of radiation exposure” was too much to endure……http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Fukushima-Not-Even-Close-To-Being-Under-Control.html
Europe is ill-prepared for a Fukushima-level accident Nuclear Monitor Issue: #802 The full report is posted on the NTW website.
Michèle Rivasi, chair of NTW and Member of the European Parliament, said:
“The disaster of Fukushima has shed light on a number of very serious dysfunctions: in one of the evacuated city, Futaba, patients of the hospital have been left on their own for three days because the medical staff had run away. The panic made all plans useless, despite the famous “Japanese discipline”. Besides the unforeseeable reactions (which will lead in any way to chaos), the theoretical plans revealed totally inefficient. There are numerous shocking facts. Some patients were transported to places without any care facilities and the evacuation zone was ill defined and too small (it jumped arbitrarily from 2km to 3km and then to 10 and 20km, whereas the US authorities ordered their expats to leave from the 80km zone).”
Despite the Fukushima experience, EP&R measures in Europe vary considerably and are generally inadequate. The European Commission and European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group initiated a process of stress tests for all operating nuclear power plants in Europe in the aftermath of Fukushima, but this process did not include off-site EP&R. Later attempts by the European Commission to take action on this issue seem to have come to a virtual halt. EP&R plans in Europe are mostly based on INES Level 5 nuclear accidents and they generally cannot cope with an INES 7 accident, which is the level of the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.
Specific problems include:
Emergency drills….. Updating plans – …. Communication ….. Distribution of iodine tablets –…. Food standards …….
NTW calls for systematic involvement of civil society in the development of EP&R plans. NTW’s assessment makes it clear that the usual top-down approach in EP&R should be changed and that local populations and interested civil society organisations should be actively involved and supported in this participation.
Germany’s Energy Revolution goes from strength to strength as the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor closes http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-reactor-closure/blog/53355/
One less nuclear reactor threat to the people of Europe with the early closure of the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor. Germany’s 33 year-old Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor will be shut down permanently on June 27th as the country’s phase out of nuclear power continues. It’s the first reactor to close since Germany passed its Atomic Energy Act in July 2011 which requires the closure of all commercial nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.
The reactor is being shutdown seven months early as the disastrous economics of nuclear power and Germany’s drive for clean and sustainable energy have made it impossible for its owner E.ON to operate the reactor and make a profit.
E.ON and other large nuclear utilities only have themselves to blame. They failed to anticipate the growth of renewable energy and so they failed to invest in it. At the same time, electricity prices have fallen making their nuclear power plants even less profitable.
That said, even E.ON is waking up to the new energy future of Germany. “The transformation of Europe’s energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy,” said the company in a report from March this year.
But what are the implications of the closure of Grafenrheinfeld? Won’t it leave an energy gap?
In short: no. Continue reading
Russia to tighten grip on global nuclear market with standardised reactors, Global Construction Review, 17 June 2015 | By David Rogers Russia’s state nuclear corporation claims it will start mass-producing nuclear reactors to meet growing demand for nuclear power around the world.
“Something we have and nobody else does is that we have learned to replicate nuclear power plants,” said Valery Limarenko, head of Rosatom’s Atomstroyexport subsidiary, speaking during the Rosatom’s annual conference.
He said: “The serial production of nuclear power plants around the world is a difficult thing to do, but we have managed it because we are building a series of standard designs with options covering seismicity, climate and the other parameters. Our competitive ability is very high because a company that can build a series of projects, has a very strong position on the market.”………http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/russia-tighten-grip-glob8al-n4uclea0r6-4m2ar0k8et/
there is growing talk in the U.K. of whether the government should cut and run from nuclear.
In a speech to the House of Commons last week, Labour MP Paul Flynn questioned whether Whitehall would have made the same decision if it knew what it knows now about the cost of nuclear.
“Nuclear power was promised as an energy source that would be too cheap to meter. It is now too expensive to generate,”
While the European public has largely turned against nuclear since the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011, the British have been shielded by a “skilled public relations operation,”
Trouble ahead for UK’s nuclear hopes Britain’s push for new reactors is coming under fire. Politico Sara Stefanini 25/6/15, The next generation of reactors in the U.K. has been in the works for a decade, but now a looming challenge in the European Court of Justice attacking nuclear subsidies, growing technical problems and cost overruns are casting doubt on the idea of using nuclear to meet emissions reduction targets……..
the future of Hinkley Point C looks increasingly uncertain, as the first EPR projects in France and Finland have been hampered by delays, cost overruns and safety concerns, and as the Austrian government prepares to challenge the European Commission on its approval of the U.K.’s state aid. Continue reading
France plans new Saudi nuclear reactors, Sky News 25 June 2015 France has confirmed it is looking into building two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, as part of 12 billion euro ($A17.31 billion) worth of deals struck between the nations.
Under one of the agreements Airbus will sell 23 H-145 multipurpose helicopters to Saudi Arabia for 500 million euros as well as launch a feasibility study into building the reactors, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday……..
The study for two European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) – which France considers the safest and most advanced in the world – takes on added significance given the current efforts by Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, to develop its own nuclear capabilities.
In addition to the study, France will sign an agreement to train the Saudis on nuclear safety and the treatment of nuclear waste……
France has been reinforcing links with the conservative kingdom despite persistent criticism of its human rights record,…… http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/mideast/2015/06/25/france-plans-new-saudi-nuclear-reactors.html#sthash.tI5czLBA.dpuf
McNeilly disclosed last week that he had been dishonourably discharged by the Royal Navy for making public a dossier alleging that Trident was “a disaster waiting to happen” and going absent without leave. He is promising to say more in July.
The Sunday Herald revealed his allegations on May 17, while he was on the run. The following day he handed himself in to police at Edinburgh airport, saying he had achieved what he wanted.
His dossier, which detailed 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, was raised in the House of Commons by the former SNP leader, Alex Salmond. But it was dismissed by the MoD as “factually incorrect or the result of misunderstanding or partial understanding”…….
“You were lied to about nuclear weapons in Iraq, and now you’re being lied to about how safe and secure the weapons are on your homeland,” he said.
“The government overestimated Saddam and now they are underestimating the Islamic State. If things stay the way they are I put the odds of a terrorist attack at some point in the next eight years at around 99 per cent.”
He claimed that his concerns about lax security at Faslane had been backed by senior military figures. “The equipment that is brought on board by civilian contractors and military personnel isn’t checked,” he said.
“People are in positions without the proper security clearance. Mass amounts of people are being pushed through the system due to manpower shortages. IDs aren’t being checked properly.”
A pin code at a security gate wasn’t being used “because it’s either broke or people just get buzzed through because they’ve forgotten their pin,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”
It was wrong to regard current security as “the best we can do” when it wasn’t, he argued. “It’s literally harder to get to the careers office in Northern Ireland than it is to get down a nuclear submarine.”
People have become far too relaxed in the war on terror, he claimed. “The fact is anyone with a couple of fake IDs can get unto a nuclear submarine,” he added. “Islamic State have already shown that they can acquire fake documentation and IDs.”
McNeilly called for security to be tightened, and for the removal of Trident missiles. “The military seem to be happy with the security at the site,” he told the Sunday Herald.
“Islamic State have the ability to easily penetrate through the security that the navy is currently providing. The site’s security must be heightened above its current highest state until the missiles are removed……..
they should just stop making radioactive trash
Japan faces dilemma over 16 tonnes of plutonium stored in France http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2015/06/18/Japan-faces-dilemma-over-16-tonnes-of-plutonium-stored-in-France Reuters | 18 June, 2015
Still dealing with the huge clean up after the Fukushima crisis and debating its future use of atomic energy, Japan now faces another nuclear conundrum – what to do with 16 tonnes of its plutonium sitting in France after being reprocessed there. The question will be among the issues that come under the spotlight on Thursday and Friday as nuclear proliferation experts meet with legislators and government officials in Tokyo.
With its reactor fleet shut down in the wake of Fukushima, Japan is unable to take fuel made from the plutonium at the moment and could be forced to find other countries to use it.
The matter has taken on greater urgency as Areva, the French nuclear company that owns the La Hague reprocessing facility holding the plutonium in western Normandy, faces billions of dollars of losses.
“In this whole mess (at Areva) we have a huge amount of Japanese plutonium,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant, adding Japan would need to resolve the problem sooner rather than later.
An Areva spokesman said the company had long-standing contracts with Japanese utilities to take nuclear fuel made from the plutonium. Frank von Hippel, one of the founders of the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), a group of arms-control and proliferation experts, will discuss Japan’s stock of plutonium in France when he meets with Japanese legislators, according to a draft of a presentation he will give that has been seen by Reuters.
The group argues the world’s growing inventory of plutonium from civilian use is a “clear and present danger” as it could be used in so-called dirty bombs. apanese government officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Schneider, who is a contributor to a soon to be released IPFM report on plutonium separation in nuclear power programmes, said the alternative to taking back the plutonium would be to pay other countries to use it in their reactors.
He said that France would be one option, but that the cost would likely be high, especially as that country has its own stockpile to deplete. He did not give an exact cost.
“Giving its plutonium away and paying for it would expose the Japanese to the reality of plutonium as a liability rather than an asset,” said Schneider.
A precedent for that kind of deal could be set in Britain, where the government has offered to take ownership of 20 tonnes of Japanese plutonium stored at the Sellafield processing plant, according to the IPFM.
“This is a kind of win-win deal,” said Tatsujiro Suzuki, a former vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, who will join Von Hippel in meeting with legislators on Thursday.
“The British side would make money and the Japanese would lose less,” said Suzuki.
‘Green superpower’ Germany plots the way to a low-carbon world by closing Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant, SMH, June 20, 2015 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
Leaving nuclear is not without its critics, especially among big utilities: Sweden’s Vattenfall is reportedly suing the German government for €4.7 billion ($6.9 billion) to compensate for its losses.
And yet, German policymakers seem determined to stick to an ambitious – and unilateral – goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent on 1990 levels, even if that means shutting near zero-carbon nuclear plants along the way. The cuts deepen to 55 per cent by 2030 and 80-95 per cent by 2050.
The country is also betting big that renewable energy mainly from wind, solar and hydro power will continue to surge beyond its current share of about 28 per cent of total supply…….
The dramatic plunge in renewable energy prices – with solar panels becoming about 20 per cent cheaper for every doubling of output – has undermined whatever business case existed for nuclear energy, Kraemer says.
“Solar is competitive with new coal and new nuclear [power plants], and even with old coal if you price the carbon emissions properly,” Kraemer says. [Andreas Kraemer, founder and director emeritus of the Ecologic Institute, a Berlin-based think tank.]
Germans freely admit that overly generous feed-in tariffs paid to those supplying renewable energy to the grid meant the country paid billions of euros too much to install solar panels on the roofs of some 3.5 million homes and small businesses in a country not known for its bounteous sunshine. Sunshine hours in Berlin, a relatively northern city, peak at an average of eight hours a day in May-July, but drop to just one hour by December, according to a local tourist guide.
The levy now costs users 6.17 euro cents (9¢) per kilowatt-hour, boosting residents’ costs for power to about 26 euro cents/KW-hour. [By contrast, this correspondent pays about 31¢ in Sydney for 100 per cent renewable power.]
The subsidies underpin Germany’s Energiewende, or energy transition, a policy which is gaining international attention. The word is apparently the most commonly searched-for German word, eclipsing angst and blitzkrieg, according to one local supporter.
Renewable energy’s share of the country’s total electricity supply has almost quadrupled. Nuclear’s share has roughly halved over the same period from 27 per cent to about 14 per cent………http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/green-superpower-germany-plots-the-way-to-a-lowcarbon-world-by-closing-grafenrheinfeld-nuclear-power-plant-20150619-ghpbcf.html
Nuclear adviser attacks ‘perverse’ idea of Chinese building UK reactors Prof Dieter Helm also identifies security pitfalls as unions accuse government of sacrificing safety for free-market ideology over Hinkley Point C plant, Guardian, Terry Macalister, 19 June 15, A leading energy academic and government adviser has called on ministers to take an equity stake in the planned new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset, saying it would not make sense to prefer Chinese money.
The comments from Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, came as trade union leaders accused the government of letting political beliefs override practical and safety issues in the nuclear sector. In a paper entitled British Energy policy – What Happens Next? , Helm said the British government should issue debt or specific nuclear guaranteed bonds, that could cut the cost of capital from 10% to 2%.
“It is a no-brainer,” said Helm. “Add in the military and security issues of letting Chinese state-owned companies into the heart of the British nuclear industry, and it seems positively perverse to prefer Chinese government money to British government money in so sensitive a national project.”
Helm usually champions free-market methods and is on the economic advisory committee at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Meanwhile the attack on government nuclear policy from the GMB union came after comments from Amber Rudd, the energy and climate change secretary, left the door open to Chinese state companies building and operating a new plant at Bradwell, in Essex.
Gary Smith, the union’s national secretary for energy, said the Conservatives seemed ready to allow Beijing to use its own equipment and supply chain in return for funding the new stations at Bradwell and Hinkley Point.
“Energy policy is a shambles because the government is driven by ideology. It will do anything to bring in private or Chinese state money to build British energy infrastructure rather than have it (debt) on George Osborne’s balance sheet,” he said.
This would extend to the Chinese being allowed to ship over large amounts of equipment from Chinese factories, potentially affecting British nuclear safety and as well as hitting UK jobs, he said. Smith noted that an eminent Chinese nuclear scientist, He Zuoxiu, had raised concerns about the safety of his country’s atomic equipment………….http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/18/nuclear-adviser-attacks-chinese-uk-reactors-dieter-helm-hinkley
The public has been ‘protected’ from the truth of Fukushima Many people are gravely disturbed by the prospect of new nuclear power. That is particularly so among Treasury civil servants. We are in an extraordinary situation, where there is still public support in spite of Fukushima.
One of the main reasons for that is that the British public were ‘protected’ by a skilled public relations operation from knowing the terrible cost of Fukushima – between $100 billion and $250 billion.
Civil servants must speak out: ‘the time has gone for nuclear power’, Ecologist, Paul Flynn MP 18th June 2015 Despite the PR spin the truth about nuclear power is clear, says Paul Flynn. Current projects are plagued with technical failures, cost escalations and long delays – while renewables power ahead. As tin-eared ministers refuse to get the message, it’s time for civil servants to speak out direct to the public.
Nuclear power was promised as an energy source that would be too cheap to meter. It is now too expensive to generate.
If we were planning a nuclear policy from scratch, would we choose to do a deal with two French companies, one of which is bankrupt, while the other, Électricité de France, has a debt of €33 billion?
Would we also collaborate with a country with a dreadful human rights record – China, whose national investment department is coming into the arrangement – and with Saudi Arabia, with its atrocious record on human rights, where people are executed on the street? Continue reading
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