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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Germany’s nuclear power companies have not set aside sufficient funds for nuclear decommissioning

flag_germanyNuclear plant closure money insufficient – German gov’t report http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/20/germany-utilities-nadal-idUSB4N0VR00V20150320

BERLIN, March 20 Fri Mar 20, 2015 (Reuters) – A report commissioned by the German government believes nuclear power firms have not set aside enough money to cover the long-term costs of decommissioning plants, according to a copy of the report seen by Reuters on Friday.

The report from the law firm Becker Buettner Held said the 36 billion euros already set aside by Germany’s four nuclear operators E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Sweden’s Vattenfall was insufficient and meant the costs could fall on the public purse.

The report added the government should consider legal measures which would force the parent companies of nuclear power plant operators to assume liability in the case ofbankruptcy. (Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Stephen Brown)

March 21, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

In just one year, Sellafield nuclear clean-up bill jumps an extra £5bn

Cost of nuclear clean up at Sellafield increased an extra £5bn in the past year Chronicle Live UK By   15 Mar 15 The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has been slammed by MPs for the ever-increasing costs at the site in Cumbria Constantly increasing costs for the clean up of Sellafield are Britain’s bill for the Cold War, an MP has claimed.

This week MPs launched a fresh attack against the rising cost and delays of decommissioning and cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear site.

Leading figures from the nuclear industry were questioned by the Public Accounts Committee following the revelation that the expected costs have increased by £5 billion in a year, to £53 billion.

In a recent progress report on the work, the National Audit Office (NAO) criticised the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which oversees the plant, for delays in cancelling a clean-up contract with the consortium Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) after demands from MPs a year ago to do so.

The report said the contract was terminated only last month, at a cost to the taxpayer of £430,000 in cancellation fees.

  • The site is used to store nuclear material from across the UK and was the host of a facility which secretly produced nuclear materials for the UK’s defence programme during the Cold War which was finally demolished in 2014……..

Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, described the rise as “astonishing” and repeated her criticism during a hearing on Wednesday.

Delays had increased by 86 months since September 2013, while costs were going up by billions of pounds, she said…..

She said she was struck by the “unpredictable massive burden on future generations”, telling the nuclear industry officials it was a good idea to have strong targets and ambitions……..http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/cost-nuclear-clean-up-sellafield-8838478

March 16, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Japanese public to bear the costs of scrapping 5 old nuclear reactors

text-my-money-2flag-japanFive ageing nuclear reactors to be scrapped in Japan Sun Daily,  12 March 2015 -TOKYO: Japanese power companies are expected to announce the decommissioning of five ageing nuclear reactors next week, local media reported Thursday.

Four operators – Kansai Electric Power Co, Japan Atomic Power Co, Chugoku Electric Power Co and Kyushu Electric Power Co – will decide on Wednesday to scrap the reactors, which went into service in the 1970s, Kyodo News agency reported without citing any sources.

The operators will avoid the cost of beefing up safety measures to meet higher standards following Japan’s worst nuclear accident in Fukushima prefecture in 2011, Kyodo said.

The Industry Ministry said in January that the cost of decommissioning reactors, which can run to hundreds of millions of dollars and take decades until the property is ready for other uses, should be met by the general public……..http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1353191

March 13, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan must face the problems and politics of demolishing dead nuclear reactors

highly-recommendedQuestions remain over future plan for Japan’s aging nuclear plants Japan Times, 12 Mar 15 BY ERIC JOHNSTON As the debate about what to do with Japan’s aging nuclear reactors intensifies, questions remain about the ramifications of decommissioning plants, and how to tear down the facilities in a way that’s efficient, affordable, safe, and that has the support of the local community.

In the United Kingdom, these concerns formed the basis of a policy that has led to the decommission of numerous power stations, two of which began operating in the 1950s……

Seven of Japan’s 48 commercial reactors are at least 40 years old — in principle their maximum operating life. Another five are at least 35 years old and their fate will have to be decided within the next few years.

Decommissioning

Kyushu Electric plans to decommission the 40-year-old Genkai No. 1 plant, while Kepco is expected to shut down the Mihama No. 1 and 2 reactors, both of which are over 40 years old. Chugoku Electric plans to decommission the 41-year-old Shimane No. 1 reactor, while the Tsuruga No. 1 reactor, which is 45 years old and run by Japan Atomic Power, will be closed.

Decommissioning a plant is a decades-long process that does not necessarily immediately involve the most crucial step of tearing down the reactors and hauling away radioactive material.

“During the decommissioning of the Berkeley power station in southwest England, we’ve left the reactor building standing because it’s safer to remove the nuclear material in another 60 years,” Franklin said. “We’ve closed the doors on the reactor building until 2074.”

However, he acknowledged publicly visible gestures were important because they could help reassure local communities that the plant was actually being dismantled.

“A skyline change helps garner support for the decommissioning process and for difficult decisions, such as not tearing down and hauling away nuclear materials in reactor buildings,” he said.

“In one case, we destroyed the plant’s cooling towers, which were not actually a major hazard but could be seen for miles. If you live nearby and you see them come down, you feel progress is being made, and that’s more effective than simply telling people about the progress.”

Perhaps the biggest lesson the U.K. learned was that effective decommissioning starts with addressing the corporate and bureaucratic culture at a nuclear plant.

“Changing your culture from making something — electricity — to actually taking power stations down requires a huge cultural change on a nuclear site. That’s something we’re really working on sharing with Japanese nuclear operators,” Franklin said. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/03/11/national/questions-remain-over-future-plan-for-japans-aging-nuclear-plants/#.VQH9CNKUcnk

March 13, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

Decommissioning

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What matters is whether enough funds have been set aside to provide for it,” he said. (Additional reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt, Svetlana Burmistrova in Moscow, Scott DiSavino in New York and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Dale Hudson) http://www.businessinsider.com.au/r-global-nuclear-decommissioning-cost-seen-underestimated-may-spiral-2015-1

 

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

Nations make (optimistic) guesses at the cost of getting rid of old nuclear reactors

Getting Rid Of Old Nuclear Reactors Worldwide Is Going To Cost Way More Than People Think Business Insider,  NINA CHESTNEYGEERT DE CLERCQ LONDON/PARIS (Reuters)  20 Jan 15 –”…….The U.S. Flag-USANuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that the cost of decommissioning in the United States – which has some 100 reactors – ranges from $US300 million to $US400 million per reactor, but some reactors might cost much more.

flag-franceFrance’s top public auditor and the nuclear safety authority estimate the country’s decommissioning costs at between 28 billion and 32 billion euros ($US32-37 billion).

flag_germanyGerman utilities – such as E.ON, which last month said it would split in two, spinning off power plants to focus on renewable energy and power grids – have put aside 36 billion euros..

flag-UKBritain’s bill for decommissioning and waste disposal is now estimated at 110 billion pounds ($US167 billion) over the next 100 years, double the 50 billion pound estimate made 10 years ago.

flag-japanJapanese government estimates put the decommissioning cost of the country’s 48 reactors at around $US30 billion, but this is seen as conservative. Russia has 33 reactors and costs are seen ranging from $US500 million to $US1 billion per reactor……… http://www.businessinsider.com.au/r-global-nuclear-decommissioning-cost-seen-underestimated-may-spiral-2015-1

January 20, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Reference | Leave a comment

Japan’s electricity consumers to pay half the $180+ cost of dismantling each nuclear reactor

nuke-reactor-deadflag-japanJapanese electric power consumers to share NPP dismantling costs  It costs at least $180 million to decommission one reactor TOKYO, January 14. /TASS/. The costs of dismantling of outdated or unsafe nuclear power plants in Japan will be equally shared by the country’s electric power consumers, a working group of the economy, trade and industry ministry said on Wednesday………The government said nuclear power plants will be decommissioned when their authorized 40-year lifespans expire. Some 5 reactors are expected to be dismantled and the plans will be officially announced next month.

The loss due to decommissioning of one reactor is estimated at least at $180 million. Such expenses could deal a serious economic blow to private companies, which own the power reactors, and weaken the country’s economy in general.

Japan’s energy companies have submitted applications for another 19 reactors to resume their operations, but the process has been slowed down by safety checks and paperwork…….http://itar-tass.com/en/world/771074

January 16, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Entergy can’t afford, for decades, to dismantle Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Begins Slow Process of Closing, NYT  By JAN. 4, 2015 “………..The Entergy Corporation, a Louisiana-based energy company that operates nuclear plants around the country, purchased Vermont Yankee in 2002. The plant had withstood opposition from activists since it opened, but from 2007 to 2010, the collapse of a cooling tower, radioactive tritium leaks and misstatements from plant executives that had preceded them further eroded public confidence in the company.

State legislators tried to close the plant, but a judge ruled in 2012 that they could not. Shortly after that decision was upheld, in August 2013, Entergy announced it would nevertheless close the plant, citing economics.

“It became pretty clear that we could not, this would not be a financially viable resource going forward,” said Bill Mohl, the president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, which owns the plant, last week. He cited the plant’s small size, the low cost of natural gas for producing electricity and other issues with the market.

 He said it was not politics, although many who live here believe that the political environment made it harder to operate the plant.

“This plant, this area, ranks right up there with the highest antinuke sentiment across the entire country,” said Mr. Farabaugh, who worked in five other plants around the nation before coming to Vermont Yankee.

nuke-reactor-deadEntergy projects it will cost $1.2 billion to decommission Vermont Yankee, but its trust fund has about half of that, so the full dismantling of the plant will not begin for decades. Meanwhile, the operators will turn to the mammoth task of cooling, storing and securing the spent fuel there.

Federal law requires the government to develop a long-term storage facility for nuclear waste, but there is currently no plan in place. So the spent fuel at Vermont Yankee, like at closed nuclear facilities around the country, will stay on site, and officials say it will be safe.

The prospect of the plant’s future as a nuclear storage facility worries many of the area’s activists, like Clay Turnbull, the president of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, which is based in Brattleboro.

“It’s good that they’re not splitting atoms now, that’s very good, but we have 42 years of high-level waste that is far more dangerous if it were released to the environment than what would be in the reactor,” Mr. Turnbull said http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/us/vermont-yankee-nuclear-plant-begins-slow-process-of-closing.html?_r=0

January 7, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Vermont Yankee has only half the $1.24B needed to get rid of the nuclear plant corpse

nuke-reactor-deadNuclear plant predicts $1.24B decommissioning cost http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2014/12/nuclear-plant-predicts-1-24b-decommissioning-cost.html?cmpid=enl-poe-weekly-december-22-2014 12/22/2014 MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant has made formal its prediction that decommissioning the reactor will cost $1.24 billion.

The soon-to-close plant announced that cost estimate in October and repeated it Friday in documents filed with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The plant currently has about half that amount saved up to dismantle the reactor and complete other tasks. It’s expected to be at least the early 2040s before the fund has grown enough to pay for full decommissioning.

Vermont Yankee owner Entergy Corp. announced in August of 2013 that it would shut down at the end of this year because the plant was no longer economical to operate.

December 31, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chief warns that Commission is not geared for needs of decommissioning

Macfarlane, AllisonNuclear Agency Rules Are Ill-Suited for Plant Decommissioning, Leader Says NYT By NOV. 17, 2014 WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rules are not geared for supervising the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, the task that will occupy much of its time in the coming years, the head of the agency, Allison M. Macfarlane, said Monday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in a wide-ranging look at her agency and the industry before she leaves the job at the end of the year, Dr. Macfarlane said the industry had instead set itself up about 15 years ago to oversee more reactor construction, a revival that did not occur. “The industry was really expecting to expand,” she said. “The agency’s not facing the future that five years ago people envisioned.”

Instead, a plunging price of natural gas and slack demand for electricity have made some existing plants uncompetitive, and the pace of retirements has been high. But the commission’s rules on areas like security and emergency planning are geared to operating plants, she said. So shut-down plants are applying for exemptions to the rules that no longer seem to fit the risk that the reactors pose when decommissioned.

As with nuclear waste, the commission’s rules on reactors seem more focused on construction and operation than on the “back end,” said Dr. Macfarlane, a geologist who is returning to academia.

Decommissioning

In her comments, Dr. Macfarlane said that the future of a proposed nuclear waste repository near Las Vegas, blocked for years by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada as majority leader, was still far from assured, despite the coming change of party control in the Senate. The commission’s job would be to rule on whether the repository should be licensed, but it could never approve a license without “a willing applicant,” she said.

That applicant would be the Department of Energy, which dropped work on the project after a campaign promise by Barack Obama when he ran for president the first time.

To resume work on the proposed repository, at Yucca Mountain, the Energy Department and the commission would need a new appropriation, she said. And at the time work was stopped, in 2010, “there were more than 300 contentions challenging the application,” she said. Each must be argued before a panel of administrative law judges.

And even then, she noted, Yucca Mountain would not be big enough for all the waste.

In light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 in Japan, Dr. Macfarlane said that the commission should consider new rules on some reactors whose design does not resemble the ones that melted down in Japan. The commission has required older plants of the General Electric design to improve their systems for venting gases in an emergency, but perhaps other models should have to do the same, she said……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/us/nuclear-agency-rules-are-ill-suited-for-plant-decommissioning-leader-says.html?_r=0

November 19, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Even the pro nukes know that burying dead nuclear reactors is a growing and massively costly problem

World Energy Outlook Warns Nuclear Industry On Decommissioning And Disposal 12 Nov (NucNet): The nuclear energy industry needs to be ready to manage “an unprecedented rate” of decommissioning with almost 200 of the 434 reactors that were operating commercially at the end of 2013 to be retired by 2040, a report by the International Energy Agency says. World Energy Outlook 2014 (WEO), released today in London, says “the vast majority” of these reactor retirements will be in the European Union, the US, Russia and Japan. … The IEA estimates the cost of decommissioning plants that are retired to be more than $100 billion.

Decommissioning

But WEO warns that “considerable uncertainties” remain about these costs, reflecting the relatively limited experience to date in dismantling and decontaminating reactors and restoring sites for other uses.
Regulators and utilities need to continue to ensure that adequate funds are set aside to cover these future expenses, WEO says.
It also warns that all countries which have ever had nuclear generation facilities have an obligation to develop solutions for long-term storage.
In one scenario examined in WEO, the cumulative amount of spent nuclear fuel that has been generated (a significant portion of which becomes high-level radioactive waste) more than doubles, reaching 705,000 tonnes in 2040.

Today – 60 years since the first nuclear reactor started operating – no country has yet established permanent facilities for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste from commercial reactors, which continues to build up in temporary storage, WEO says..

November 15, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

20 years, $4.5 billion minimum to get rid of San Onofre nuclear power plant

nuclear-plant-San-OnofreShutting down San Onofre to take 20 years, cost $4.4B, NRC says http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/10/28/shutting-down-san-onofre-to-take-20-years-cost-4-4b-nrc-says/ , OCTOBER 28, 2014, BY   SAN DIEGO- IT WILL TAKE 20 YEARS AND COST $4.4 BILLION TO DECOMMISSION THE SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR POWER STATION, REGULATORS SAY.

Activists and residents peppered the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Monday with pointed questions about the decommissioning process. “How can you tell us a price when you can’t even tell us how long the waste will be there,” asked a woman at the meeting.

San Clemente resident Rochelle Becker said she thinks the process will end up costing much more than the commission’s estimate.

“The NRC has never met a budget. Why in the world should they now?” Becker asked rhetorically.

While the commission estimated that it would take 20 years to decommission the reactor, that doesn’t include removing the plant’s spent nuclear fuel rods. The spent nuclear waste will remain on the property for up to 100 years, under the current plan.

There is no federal nuclear waste storage site, so every nuclear reactor faces the same problem. At the end of their life cycle, nuclear power plant will become nuclear waste storage sites until that changes, according to the commission.

October 29, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor | Leave a comment

At least 4 years to scrap nuclear reactor barge

NUCLEAR-REACTOR SHIP HEADED TO GALVESTON TO BE SCRAPPED Kristi Nix, The Pasadena CitizenMonday, October 20, 2014 GALVESTON, TX –

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers recently announced plans to tow a World War II-era Liberty ship converted to a barge-mounted nuclear reactor to Galveston from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to be scrapped. The barge is expected to arrive at the Malin International Shipyard in mid-December……..The entire process is expected to less than four years, but the details of the scrapping operation once the USS Sturgis arrives in Galveston have not been finalized, officials said. http://abc13.com/news/nuclear-reactor-ship-headed-to-galveston-to-be-scrapped/358319/

October 21, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Heavy task to dismantle San Onofre’s dead nuclear power plant

san-onofre-deadfCountdown to dismantling San Onofre  UT San Diego By Morgan Lee .OCT. 13, 2014 Heavy work on dismantling the San Onofre nuclear plant may be just three months away.

Today, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to set in motion the 90-day countdown for major decommissioning activities by confirming receipt of detailed plans for the project, known as a “post-shutdown decommissioning activities report,” from San Onofre operator Southern California Edison. The notice will be published in the Federal Register.

Edison wants to restore most of the Navy-owned site in northern San Diego County during the next 20 years, a relatively quick schedule. The federal government allows up to 60 years for decommissioning, so that high-level radiation can dissipate.

The commission will conduct a public meeting to discuss Edison’s decommissioning plan, cost estimates and related environmental impacts on Oct. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Omni La Costa in Carlsbad. Beyond the meeting, written comments on the dismantling issue are due to the agency by Dec. 22.

Edison said the job will cost about $4.4 billion. The company announced in June that enough money has been set aside in trust accounts over recent decades to pay for the project.

The utility company is seeking authority to tap decommissioning funds to pay for most San Onofre-related expenses since the facility’s retirement was announced in June 2013.

It also is asking for permission from state utility regulators to cease annual collections of $23 million from its customers that are meant for the trust accounts — and to refund at least $17 million of that money……..http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/13/countdown-san-onofre-decomissioning/

October 15, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear decommissioning costs shooting up in Sweden

nuke-reactor-deadSweden plans big rise in fees to nuclear decommissioning fund http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/sweden-plans-big-rise-in-fees-to-nuclear-decommissioning-fund/articleshow/37335517.cms By Reuters | 27 Jun, 2014  OSLO: Sweden on Friday proposed a sharp rise in fees nuclear power producers have to pay the country’s nuclear decommissioning fund, saying previous cost estimates were too low.

Sweden has three nuclear power plants with ten reactors in operation, generating about 40 per cent of the country’s electricity needs. The oldest reactors are expected to be shut at the beginning of the next decade.

OSLO: Sweden on Friday proposed a sharp rise in fees nuclear power producers have to pay the country’s nuclear decommissioning fund, saying previous cost estimates were too low.  The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) said it has proposed raising fees by 73 per cent to 0.038 crowns ($0.01) per kilowatt-hour from 0.022 crowns for 2015.

The nuclear power industry pays fees to the Nuclear Waste Fund to prepare for the future decommissioning of plants and storage of spent nuclear fuel.

It said the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) had to recalculate fees to the nuclear decommissioning fund for the period of 2016-2017.
“The SSM has assessed that the costs for decommissioning and final disposal for the Swedish nuclear power industry may be underestimated by SKB by at least 11 billion Swedish crowns ($1.63 billion),” the authority said in a statement.

Sweden’s state-owned utility Vattenfall operates seven reactors and Germany’s E.ON three.  Finnish utility Fortum has stakes in six Swedish nuclear reactors.

June 28, 2014 Posted by | decommission reactor, Sweden | 1 Comment

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