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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

France’s new nuclear power – not successful at home, so they might try to sell it off to Czech Republic

Hollande-salesFrench foreign minister: EDF to consider participating in building new Czech nuclear reactors US News 23 Aug 15 PRAGUE (AP) — French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says his country’s company will consider participating in developing the Czech Republic’s nuclear program.

The Czech government has recently approved a long-term plan to increase the country’s nuclear power production. As part of the plan, the government wants to build one more reactor at the Temelin nuclear plant and another at the Dukovany plant, with an option to build yet another reactor at each plant…..Speaking to reporters after meeting Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek on Sunday, Fabius said it will be state-controlled utility Electricite de France that will be part of a public tender to build the reactors. http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/08/23/france-to-consider-helping-czech-nuclear-program

August 24, 2015 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

Local anxieties in Germany, over French nuclear waste plan

radioactive trashFrench nuclear waste plan irks Germans near site, DW, 4 Aug 15 France wants to build a permanent nuclear waste storage facility not far from the German border. The plan has irked many in the region, but the government in Berlin sees no need for action.

Nuclear power plants produce radioactive waste, which emits radiation for thousands of years. Even Germany, which is set to phase out nuclear power, is looking for a final repository for its spent nuclear fuel, but has not yet decided on the location. Finding a geologically suitable site is not the problem, but rather, the protests over the location. Nobody wants to live with a nuclear waste dump at their doorstep.

For many decades, France has focused and relied on nuclear power, and now, plant operators are under pressure to find repositories for the radioactive waste.

The French government seems to have its sights set on Bure, a town in eastern France, around 120 kilometers (74 miles) from the German border. There, scientists have spent years investigating whether highly and moderately radioactive waste can be disposed of 500 meters underground. ANDRA, the French national agency for radioactive waste, believes that Bure offers what a repository requires: Nuclear waste can be stored there for 100 years; then, the site can be closed off and ultimately, the nuclear waste can decay there for 100,000 years until the radiation no longer poses a threat to humans.

‘Unbearable coup’

Opponents of the site feel less bothered by the repository itself then by the decision-making process that led to choosing it. In mid-July, the government added a last minute clause to a legislative package promoting business development but did not hold a debate or vote in parliament. And since no other potential nuclear waste sites have been explored in France, critics believe that the Bure location was practically predetermined. The Green party group in the French national assembly calls the procedure an “unbearable coup,” while the nation’s nuclear regulatory body and the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Reactor Safety (IRSN) have expressed “numerous reservations” about the plans………http://www.dw.com/en/french-nuclear-waste-plan-irks-germans-near-site/a-18627896

August 5, 2015 Posted by | France, wastes | Leave a comment

The end of the line for AREVA’s model of “birth to grave” nuclear processes

Areva bankruptAs losses mounted, so did Areva’s debt, which reached six billion euros at the end of the first half of 2015.

The sale of the nuclear reactor unit to EDF marks the end of Areva’s formerly profitable full-service model, which offered clients all aspects of development ranging from conception and construction to fuel procurement and waste treatment.

France sells major nuclear stake   http://www.iol.co.za/business/international/france-sells-major-nuclear-stake-1.1893029#.VbqVMvOqpHw July 30 2015 Paris – Atomic energy giant Areva on Thursday agreed to sell a majority stake of its nuclear reactor unit to electricity group EDF as part of a shake-up of the French sector. Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

€7bn needed to keep loss-making nuclear company AREVA alive

scrutiny-on-costsLossmaking Areva needs €7bn capital injection, Ft.com Michael Stothard in Paris, 30 July 15  Struggling French nuclear group Areva on Thursday disclosed it needed a bigger than expected capital injection worth €7bn as the company also unveiled a far-reaching agreement with EDF on asset disposals and other projects.

The two companies — both state-controlled — agreed in principle that EDF will pay €2bn for a 75 per cent stake in Areva’s reactor unit, called Areva NP, in a radical reshaping of the French nuclear industry that has come after months of tense negotiations……..

Following the deal, Areva, which reported a €4.8bn net loss last year, will be reduced to a nuclear fuel company that mines, enriches and then disposes of uranium. The heart of the company — designing, building and servicing nuclear reactors — is being sold off.

Areva said that overall it would need €7bn in capital over the next two years, however, meaning that as much as €5bn will be required from sources other than EDF, the French utility group. Much of these additional funds are likely to come from a government-backed capital raising.

The French government may have to contribute between €4bn and €5bn, far more than the €2bn to €3bn that ministers had hoped for just a few months ago, according to people familiar with the situation, although the exact level of the capital raising was not announced on Thursday.

Areva said it could secure €0.4bn from selling some other assets including Canberra, its nuclear measurements subsidiary, and as much as €1.2bn from other sources of equity financing. This suggested a government-backed capital raising that might be closer to €4bn.

On Thursday the two companies also said they would set up a dedicated company to be 80 per cent owned by EDF and 20 per cent by Areva NP, aimed at improving the design and management of brand new reactors projects.

One of the problems that has weighed on Areva in recent years has been cost overruns at key projects, particularly the Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland, which is 10 years behind schedule and prompted the company to take €3.9bn in impairment charges………..http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/110c0476-368c-11e5-b05b-b01debd57852.html#axzz3hPaCUU5g

July 31, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

France moves towards renewable energy, while government still shelling out $billions to save AREVA

France‘s decision to reduce dependence on nuclear power will not go down well with the already struggling nuclear industry, which includes French players like Areva, EDF and GDF Suez. Areva, the world’s largest nuclear company, reported a loss of $4.8 billion in 2014 after it started facing a dip in demand following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Areva is one of the most prominent companies in France, so the French government has been trying hard to save the company through a proposed deal with EDF, which involves selling off its reactor and fuel treatment business. According to recent reports, the French government could end up shelling out $5.5 billion to rescue Areva, far more than anticipated.

Is France Ready To Move Away From Nuclear Energy? http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Is-France-Ready-To-Move-Away-From-Nuclear-Energy.html By  30 July 2015 | 0

   France is the world’s most nuclear dependent country. With 58 nuclear reactors in 19 power stations having a total capacity of 63.2 gigawatts, France is the second largest producer of nuclear energy in the world, second only to the United States.

But unlike the U.S., nuclear energy represents France’s largest source of electricity generation, accounting for around 77 percent of the country’s energy generation in 2014. However, in the last few years, France has witnessed growing public support in favor of developing newer technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and replace nuclear power.

In the year 2012, France’s newly elected President Francois Hollande pledged to reduce his country’s dependence on nuclear power to 50 percent by 2025. This triggered a ‘national debate for energy transition’ in France which lasted for eight months. The National Assembly of France then passed an Energy Transition for Green Growth bill in 2014 which would put a cap on the country’s nuclear power capacity at the current level of 63.2 gigawatts.

Last week saw French Lawmakers finally pass this bill which seeks to cut the country’s growing dependence on nuclear power. With the move, France is following Germany, which decided to significantly reduce its dependence on nuclear energy after the infamous 2011- Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

In order to meet this tough new target, Electricite De France or EDF (which is 85 percent government-owned) would have no other option but to close some of its nuclear power capacity in order to accommodate its new European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), which is currently under construction in Normandy.

The new law further requires France to increase the contribution of renewables in its total energy consumption to 32 percent by 2030. This is in addition to reducing the C02 emissions by 40 percent by 2030 when compared to 1990 levels and also reduce conventional fossil fuel consumption by 30 percent by 2030 from 2012 levels.

Although the law has made it quite clear that France now has to reduce its dependence on nuclear power, there are still several loopholes. as it hasn’t provided a clear manner in which the set target is supposed to be met and there is no specific implementation strategy put in place yet. “This law sets goals, which is interesting, but it doesn’t explain how to reach them, postponement of the detailed implementation plans is not a good sign,” said Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace.

“I want France to become a nation of environmental excellence,” said French environmental minister Segolene Royal. She further said that recent steps taken by the French government could create close to 100,000 jobs in the renewable sector.

As the new law has also set a goal of increasing overall renewable energy consumption while also curtailing nuclear power, we can expect some major foreign investments in the French clean energy sector in the coming few years. French energy giant Total has in fact been investing a substantial amount in the solar sector. With its partnership with U.S. based Sunpower, Total might just ramp up its investments in the French solar sector.

It is interesting to note that wind energy also enjoys local public support in France as a 2014-CSA survey revealed that around 64 percent of local people see wind energy as a worthy replacement for nuclear power. According to the European Wind Energy Association, France increased its target for energy generation from wind to 19 gigawatts by 2020 from 8.2 gigawatts in 2014.

France is also the second largest producer of biofuels in Europe after Germany, mostly producing biodiesel. France has already set a goal of blending 10 percent of biofuels with its conventional fuels by 2020. So, with the current push towards renewables one can reasonably expect a surge in biofuel investments as well.

However, the same cannot be said for natural gas, as France is one of the four countries that have banned hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Experts predict that the French natural gas demand might even fall by the year 2020.

What does this mean for the suppliers of nuclear fuel and companies like AREVA?

France‘s decision to reduce dependence on nuclear power will not go down well with the already struggling nuclear industry, which includes French players like Areva, EDF and GDF Suez. Areva, the world’s largest nuclear company, reported a loss of $4.8 billion in 2014 after it started facing a dip in demand following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Areva is one of the most prominent companies in France, so the French government has been trying hard to save the company through a proposed deal with EDF, which involves selling off its reactor and fuel treatment business. According to recent reports, the French government could end up shelling out $5.5 billion to rescue Areva, far more than anticipated.

With its desire to shift away from nuclear energy, France is slowly and steadily preparing itself to adapt newer technologies and eventually move towards renewables. However, this transition requires a clear road map with a clear plan on the systematic closure of its nuclear capacity. Without these, it might take several years (beyond the target dates) for the Energy Transition law to get implemented.

By Gaurav Agnihotri for Oilprice.com

July 31, 2015 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

France quadruples carbon price, will move towards renewable energy

France Passes New Energy Law Quadruples Carbon Price, Bloomberg by  23 July 15, French lawmakers adopted a long-delayed energy law that will reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear reactors and raise carbon prices almost fourfold.

Lawmakers late Wednesday passed legislation that included a last-minute amendment initially rejected by the government to increase the target price of carbon to 56 euros ($61.48) a ton in 2020 and 100 euros a ton in 2030, according to the National Assemblywebsite. The rate, now 14.50 euros a ton, climbs to 22 euros a ton in 2016 and is integrated in a levy on fossil fuels.

The rise provides “visibility” to the business community on how carbon prices will evolve, Environment Minister Segolene Royal said. Higher taxes on fossil fuels will be offset by lower levies on other products, she also said.

 The new energy transition law, passed by a show of hands with no count to be published, reflects a campaign pledge three years ago by President Francois Hollande to cut France’s nuclear-energy reliance in favor of renewables………http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-23/france-passes-new-energy-law-quadruples-carbon-price

July 25, 2015 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear corporation AREVA going down the financial gurgler

As Areva Goes Belly Up, Modi’s French Nuclear Plans May Start Unravelling, DiaNuke.org, 24 July 15 “………..The signs of Areva’s irreparable decline if not imminent death have been on the horizon these past years. With its single product catalogue, Areva has struggled to complete two identical EPR reactors, the first at Olkiluoto for TVO in Finland (still not operational despite a nine-year delay and a trebling of costs) and the second in Flamanville, France, plagued by equally serious construction and security flaws, delays and outrageous cost over-runs. …….

Areva bankrupt

Reactor woes continue

The estimated price of the reactor continues to go up and up – it has nearly trebled from 3.3 billion euros eight years ago to around 9 billion euros at current estimates and could go higher if the EPR’s technical problems persist. The company has run up a deficit estimated at 4.8 billion euros for a turnover of 8.3 billion. Its recapitalisation requirements stand at 7 billion euros. The French government has stepped in to impose draconian solutions on the company that will see its design, construction and operations arm hacked off and handed over to its arch enemy, EDF. When the negotiations with EDF are completed – the haggling over price is currently underway – Areva, a company that has built and operated some 64 nuclear reactors will be reduced to a dwarf.

The French nuclear security watchdog, ASN, has issued a number of severe warnings to Areva on major security issues and manufacturing and construction flaws in the reactor being built in Flamanville, France, one of four EPRs under construction in the world. One of the latest warnings concerns the weakness of the reinforced steel core at the heart of the reactor where nuclear fission takes place. French papers have described fissures in the reactor’s innermost core as measuring as much as 42 centimetres. If the ASN’s suspicions about the poor quality of the forging done by Areva are proved right (the final test results will be available in October), the reactor dome will have to be removed. This can only mean one thing: the total abandonment of the EPR in France. A decision is not expected until 2016.

Several reports published in France on the woes of the EPR describe it as a product of “French technological hubris”. It is a gigantic reactor that looks good on paper. But as the adage goes, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating and India did not wait long enough to see the reactor’s performance before rushing in to buy an untried product.

“The EPR reactor whose problems are at the heart of the current crisis is an expensive failure,” writes energy analyst Nick Butler. “It has to be written off and replaced by a new generation of smaller, less complex reactors that can be built on time and on budget. The EPR was designed at a time when it was believed that energy costs would rise inexorably. That is no longer the case.”…………There is also the question of Areva’s massive debt.

Uncertain future

The Finnish nuclear operator TVO is suing Areva for billions of dollars for the delays, cost over-runs (estimated at 7 billion euros instead of the 3.3 billion originally projected) and technical flaws related to the EPR in Olkiluoto. The failure of the Finnish EPR has contributed vastly to Areva’s troubles.

Once hailed as the harbinger of a nuclear renaissance, the EPR is fast becoming one of the world’s most criticised and by far the most expensive nuclear white elephants. In France work began in 2007 and the reactor was to have gone on stream in 2012. This date has now been pushed forward to 2017 at three times the initial cost.

Leaving aside the problems linked to cost, safety and technological know-how, it is at this stage totally unclear if EDF would like to pursue the EPR programme at all. Last year the European Commission gave the go ahead for building another EPR reactor at Hinkley Point in Britain. But British authorities, which were to have signed in March 2015, now appear reluctant to go ahead. The Financial Times reported that the project might be completely abandoned. In the US, plans to build the EPR have currently been suspended. as World Nuclear News reported in March, Areva “has asked the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend work on the design certification of the US EPR until further notice, prompting Unistar Nuclear Energy to request the suspension of the review of its construction and operation licence (COL) application for Calvert Cliffs 3.” http://www.dianuke.org/why-is-india-bent-on-joining-the-sinking-french-nuclear-ship/

July 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, Reference | Leave a comment

Reject Nunavut board’s recommendation against uranium project – AREVA urges Canadian govt

areva-medusa1Areva urges minister to reject Nunavut board’s disapproval of uranium project CBC News  Jul 08, 2015 The company that wants to eventually open a uranium mine near Baker Lake, Nunavut, is asking the federal government to reject a territorial regulator’s recommendation that the project not be approved.

In May, following a multi-year environmental impact review, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) said Areva Resources Canada’s Kiggavik project should not be approved because it doesn’t have a construction timeline attached to it.

But whether the project can proceed is ultimately up to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt. Areva has written Valcourt asking him to send the recommendation back to NIRB and direct NIRB to “consider the inclusion of appropriate terms and conditions to a project approval.”..http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/areva-urges-minister-to-reject-nunavut-board-s-disapproval-of-uranium-project-1.3142869

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Canada, France, politics international | Leave a comment

Grim future for France’s nuclear companies AREVA and EDF

Burdened by losses, EDF’s foreign activities are currently unable to finance the increasing requirements at home, where the production costs of nuclear plants are rising by around 5% each year and investment needs are increasing.

The international trend is not for a nuclear renaissance but for a boom in renewable energy, and France will not be able to export significantly more reactors, or to develop new reprocessing contracts abroad under profitable conditions.

To understand just how far the French nuclear industry has fallen in recent years, look no further than the value of EDF and Areva. Since 2007, EDF’s stock price has fallen more than 70%; Areva’s by more than 85%. If Areva weren’t 83% government-owned, it almost certainly would have declared bankruptcy by now.


plants-downnuClear News July 15
 http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo75.pdf The deep crisis which the French nuclear industry is experiencing is not new, although it seems to have shocked some commentators. It actually represents the outcome of a strategy launched at the end of the 1990s which was always flawed. The project involved an aggressive export policy which it was hoped would disguise predictable difficulties at home, according to a report by WISE Paris for Greenpeace. (1)

 

 Faced with declining overseas markets and increasing expenditure at a domestic level, EDF and Areva appear to be heading for a terminal decline. The recent industrial restructuring will not save the industry. Only a genuine reorientation can prevent further disaster for the French economy.
Areva has now suffered four years of losses, including a record figure of €4.8 billion in 2014 and debts of €5.8 billion against a turnover of €8.3 billion. The group is facing bankruptcy and cannot sidestep a far-reaching redistribution of its business operations. Despite less worrying results, the EDF group, whose fifty-eight nuclear reactors operated in France provide more than 75% of the country’s electricity, is also experiencing difficulties. Boosted by its turnover of €72.9 billion, the electricity company recorded net profits of €3.7 billion in 2014. But its debt situation – now at €34.2 billion – is increasingly a matter of concern.
In the era of the energy transition, in which France has set itself the objective of lowering the share of nuclear power in its electricity generation to 50% by 2025, the future looks grim for the two companies.

Continue reading

July 6, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, Reference | Leave a comment

When France shuts its nuclear reactors, it will be left with a monumental radioactive trash problem

flag-franceFrench nuclear waste will triple after decommissioning: agency http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/01/us-france-nuclear-waste-idUSKCN0PB4TM20150701
PARIS The amount of nuclear waste stored in France will triple once all its nuclear installations have been decommissioned, which will boost the need for storage facilities, French nuclear waste agency Andra said.

In a report released on Wednesday, Andra estimated that final nuclear waste volumes will eventually reach 4.3 million cubic meters, up from 1.46 million at the end of 2013 and an estimated 2.5 million in 2030.

That is based on an average lifespan of 50 years for utility EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors and including a new reactor under construction in Flamanville. Most of that waste will be only slightly radioactive, such as building rubble and clothing used during decommissioning, but because of its bulk, it requires increasing amounts of space.

Decommissioning

Andra, which publishes a nuclear waste inventory every three years, expects its low-level waste facility in Morvilliers, in the Aube region, would fill up between 2020 and 2025.

“We want to warn that the storage centers are filling up and that we need to optimize waste management because storage facilities are a rare resource,” Andra executive Michele Tallec told Reuters.

Volumes of highly radioactive, long-life waste – which represent just 0.2 percent of the volume but 98 percent of the radioactivity – should rise from 3,200 cubic meters at the end of 2013 to about 10,000 cubic meters when all France’s nuclear plants reach their end of life.

This waste is scheduled to be buried in the controversial deep-storage site in Bure, in eastern France, which already has a test facility but has not received any nuclear waste.

his year, Andra plans to present the French government and nuclear regulator ASN a technical dossier on Bure, which aims to bury nuclear waste 500 meters underground in thick layers of argillite rock, which Andra says will prevent most radioactive particles from traveling more than a few meters over hundreds of thousands of years.

Andra plans to put in a formal request to build the 35 billion euro facility – which faces resistance from environmental groups and local residents – in 2017 and hopes to start construction in 2020 with a view to open it for first testing in 2025.(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Michel Rose, writing by Geert De Clercq, editing by David Evans)

July 6, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, France, Reference | Leave a comment

In France, nuclear power has lost its glow

thumbs-downflag-franceFrance 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…….

July 1, 2015 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

AREVA to sell its U.S. nuclear radiation measurement 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

July 1, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

France keen to save AREVA, by selling nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

Hollande-salesFrance 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

 

June 26, 2015 Posted by | France, marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

Japan – no idea what to do with its nuclear trash now stored in France

any-fool-would-know

 

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.

Reprocessing--NOSchneider, 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.

June 20, 2015 Posted by | France, Japan, wastes | 1 Comment

AREVA and EDF need to clean up their organisational mess ASAP – says France’s nuclear watchdog

exclamation-areva-medusa1French nuclear watchdog urges quick resolution of Areva rescue plan, Reuters, PARIS | BY MICHEL ROSE AND BENJAMIN MALLET 12 June 15 Areva’s (AREVA.PA) financial situation is worrying, the head of France’s ASN nuclear watchdog said on Thursday, urging the loss-making nuclear company and utility EDF (EDF.PA) to wrap up a rescue plan for Areva as soon as possible.

The French government last week approved EDF’s plan to take a majority stake in Areva’s nuclear reactor business and gave the two state-owned companies a month to do a deal.

“Areva’s current financial situation, it could get better, (it) can be considered as preoccupying in terms of safety,” ASN Director Pierre-Franck Chevet told Reuters in an interview.

“That’s why we have formally asked to hear them … to ask what kind of organisation they are putting in place to fulfils the commitments they have made in terms of safety for the incoming period,” he added, noting a meeting was scheduled by the end of June.

An EDF spokeswoman declined to comment, while an Areva spokeswoman pointed to comments made by Areva Chairman Philippe Varin on Wednesday, that safety remained an absolute priority.

ASN, an independent regulatory authority, last year imposed on Areva a requirement to recondition radioactive waste stored at its La Hague facility in northern France, which could cost several billion euros and which must be provisioned for, Chevet said.

However the watchdog has no power on the merger per se and its only remit is safety. It can shut down a nuclear plant if it sees a safety issue or fine companies for any transgressions……..http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/06/11/uk-france-nuclear-asn-idUKKBN0OR2EU20150611

June 13, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, safety | Leave a comment

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