nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear talks with Iran extended for another 7 months

U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months, NYT, By  and NOV. 24, 2014 “…..Secretary of State John Kerry, trying to put the best face on it, told reporters that a series of “new ideas surfaced” in the last several days of talks. He added that “we would be fools to walk away,” because a temporary agreement curbing Iran’s program would remain in place while negotiations continued.  Late Monday night Mr. Kerry’s negotiating partner, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was equally upbeat in a session with the news media, saying with a broad smile that he was optimistic that in the next few months a solution would be found. “We don’t need seven months,” he said……..http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-talks.html?_r=0

November 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear power’s future gets gloomier

Nuclear power’s dark future Japan Times, 25 Nov 14  BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY   Nuclear power constitutes the world’s most subsidy-fattened energy industry, yet it faces an increasingly uncertain future. The global nuclear power industry has enjoyed growing state subsidies over the years, even as it generates the most dangerous wastes whose safe disposal saddles future generations.

Despite the fat subsidies, new developments are highlighting the nuclear power industry’s growing travails. For example, France — the “poster child” of atomic power — is rethinking its love affair with nuclear energy. Its parliament voted last month to cut the country’s nuclear-generating capacity by a third by 2025 and focus instead on renewable sources by emulating neighboring countries like Germany and Spain.

As nuclear power becomes increasingly uneconomical at home because of skyrocketing costs, the U.S. and France are aggressively pushing exports, not just to India and China, but also to “nuclear newcomers,” such as the cash-laden oil sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf. Such exports raise new challenges related to freshwater resources, nuclear safety and nuclear-weapons proliferation.

marketig-nukes

Still, the bulk of the reactors under construction or planned worldwide are in just four countries — China, Russia, South Korea and India.

Six decades after Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, claimed that nuclear energy would become “too cheap to meter,” nuclear power confronts an increasingly uncertain future, largely because of unfavorable economics. The just-released International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2014 report states: “Uncertainties continue to cloud the future for nuclear — government policy, public confidence, financing in liberalized markets, competitiveness versus other sources of generation, and the looming retirement of a large fleet of older plants.”

The stock of the state-owned French nuclear technology giant Areva recently tumbled after it cited major delays in its reactor projects and a “lackluster” global atomic-energy market to warn of an uncertain outlook for its business………

Nuclear power has the energy sector’s highest capital and water intensity and longest plant-construction time frame, making it hardly attractive for private investors. The plant-construction time frame, with licensing approval, still averages about a decade, as underscored by the new reactors commissioned in the past decade. In fact, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 acknowledges that 49 of the 66 reactors currently under construction are plagued with delays and cost overruns. Commercial reactors have been in operation for more than half a century, yet the industry still cannot stand on its own feet without major state support. Instead of the cost of nuclear power declining with the technology’s maturation — as is the case with other sources of energy — the costs have escalated multiple times. Just in the past decade, average costs jumped from $1,000 per installed kilowatt to almost $8,000/kW.

In this light, nuclear power has inexorably been on a downward trajectory.  The nuclear share of the world’s total electricity production reached its peak of 17 percent in the late 1980s. Since then, it has been falling, and is currently estimated at about 13 percent, even as new uranium discoveries have swelled global reserves. With proven reserves having grown by 12.5 percent since just 2008, there is enough uranium to meet current demand for more than 100 years. Yet the worldwide aggregate installed capacity of just three renewables — wind power, solar power and biomass — has surpassed installed nuclear-generating capacity. In India and China, wind power output alone exceeds nuclear-generated electricity…….— nuclear power is in no position to lead the world out of the fossil-fuel age.http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2014/11/25/commentary/world-commentary/nuclear-powers-dark-future/#.VHYvqNLF8nk

November 26, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The only “new” thing about new thorium nuclear design is the marketing

The Atomic Weapons Establishment Funds almost Half of UK Universitieshttp://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-atomic-weapons-establishment-funds-almost-half-of-uk-universities/

Oak Ridge National Lab Discusses Relationship Between Molten Thorium Reactor And Weapons:
By 1954, the Laboratory’s chemical technologists had completed a pilot plant demonstrating the ability of the THOREX process to separate thorium, protactinium, and uranium-233 from fission products and from each other. This process could isolate uranium-233 for weapons development and also for use as fuel in the proposed thorium breeder reactors.

Molten-salt reactor experiments continued at the Laboratory through the 1960s and into the early 1970s. In 1969, Keith Brown, David Crouse, Carlos Bamberger, and colleagues adapted molten-salt technology to the problem of breeding uranium-233 from thorium, which could be extracted from the virtually inexhaustible supply of granite rocks found throughout the earth’s crust. When bombarded by neutrons in the molten-salt reactor, thorium was converted to fissionable uranium-233, another nuclear fuel
.

Thorium-snake-oilIn December 1960, the AEC directed the Oak Ridge Laboratory to “turn its attention to developing a molten-salt reactor and thorium breeder“.
http://web.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev25-34/chapter4.shtml (Emphasis Added)
Further, as you can see, there is nothing really “new” about molten salt thorium reactors other than marketing. As in all fashion the same old stuff gets rehashed. We need new energy innovation and investment instead.

More Reading of Interest Regarding Thorium Reactors and Weapons Proliferation: http://wmdjunction.com/121031_thorium_reactors.htmhttps://www.princeton.edu/sgs/publications/sgs/pdf/9_1kang.pdf

November 23, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australia: Foreign Minister and other Ministers take aim at President Obama, over climate change

exclamation-flag-AustraliaForeign Minister Julie Bishop chides Barack Obama over Great Barrier Reef climate change remarks ABC News 20 Nov 14 Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has criticised US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef.

Speaking to 7.30 from New York, where she is attending a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ms Bishop said “there was an issue regarding [Mr Obama’s] statement” and she could “understand the Queensland Government’s concern”……..

Bishop latest Coalition politician to take aim at Obama

Ms Bishop is not the only Coalition politician to voice criticism of Mr Obama, with frontbenchers Joe Hockey and Jamie Briggs making comments in the wake of the Brisbane speech.

Mr Briggs labelled the address as a “massive, massive distraction” from the rest of the G20 summit, while the Treasurer said it would be difficult for Mr Obama to deliver on his stricter emissions standard pledge.……..

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned the Great Barrier Reef could be at risk if more is not done to reduce carbon emissions………The UN’s World Heritage Committee has deferred a decision on whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” until next year. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-20/julie-bishop-chides-barack-obama-over-climate-change-remarks/5906570

November 22, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Goldman Sachs getting out of uranium trading

Goldman to wind down uranium desk; may sell Colombian coal mines -reportThu Nov 20, 2014 Nov 19 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs will wind down its small uranium trading business after failing to find a buyer and may sell its Colombian coal mine subsidiary, two of its most controversial commodity divisions, according to a Senate report released on Wednesday…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/20/commodities-banks-goldman-uranium-idUSL2N0T931M20141120

November 22, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear power’s dimming future, as wind, solar and biomass power races ahead

False promise of nuclear power, THE HINDU, BRAHMA CHELLANEY 19 Nov 14 The need for costly upgrades post-Fukushima and for making the nuclear industry competitive, including by cutting back on generous government subsidies, underscore nuclear power’s dimming future.

New developments highlight the growing travails of the global nuclear-power industry. France — the “poster child” of atomic power — plans to cut its nuclear-generating capacity by a third by 2025 and focus instead on renewable sources, like its neighbours, Germany and Spain. As nuclear power becomes increasingly uneconomical at home because of skyrocketing costs, the U.S. and France are aggressively pushing exports, not just to India and China, but also to “nuclear newcomers,” such as the cash-laden oil sheikhdoms. Still, the bulk of the reactors under construction or planned worldwide are located in just four countries — China, Russia, South Korea and India.

nuclear-costs3Six decades after Lewis Strauss, chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, claimed that nuclear energy would become “too cheap to meter,” nuclear power confronts an increasingly uncertain future, largely because of unfavourable economics. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2014, released last week, states: “Uncertainties continue to cloud the future for nuclear — government policy, public confidence, financing in liberalized markets, competitiveness versus other sources of generation, and the looming retirement of a large fleet of older plants.”

Heavily subsidy reliant

Nuclear power has the energy sector’s highest capital and water intensity and longest plant-construction time frame, making it hardly attractive for private investors. Plant construction time frame, with licensing approval, still averages almost a decade, as underscored by the new reactors commissioned in the past decade. The key fact about nuclear power is that it is the world’s most subsidy-fattened energy industry, even as it generates the most dangerous wastes whose safe disposal saddles future generations. Commercial reactors have been in operation for more than half-a-century, yet the industry still cannot stand on its own feet without major state support. Instead of the cost of nuclear power declining with the technology’s maturation — as is the case with other sources of energy — the costs have escalated multiple times.

In this light, nuclear power has inexorably been on a downward trajectory. The nuclear share of the world’s total electricity production reached its peak of 17 per cent in the late 1980s. Since then, it has been falling, and is currently estimated at about 13 per cent, even as new uranium discoveries have swelled global reserves. With proven reserves having grown by 12.5 per cent since just 2008, there is enough uranium to meet current demand for more than 100 years.

Yet, the worldwide aggregate installed capacity of just three renewables — wind power, solar power and biomass — has surpassed installed nuclear-generating capacity. In India and China, wind power output alone exceeds nuclear-generated electricity……

 

November 19, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

New robots for decontaminating Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Fukushima Daiichi Updates From IRID Part 2; New Robots & Work SimplyInfo, November 18th, 2014  (Great diagrams and photos)

As part of reviewing IRID’s updates on work progress for Fukushima Daiichi, new information about robots to be used and their proposed work has been released.

First Floor Robots, Floor Decontamination……..

Overhead Robots For First Floor………

Robots For Upper Floors …….

Containment Inspection Robots………

Penetration Checking Robot…… http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=14099

November 19, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks – the state of plan

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranIran nuclear talks – the Guardian briefing   and Tuesday 18 November  Iran and a six-nation negotiating group are trying to reach an agreement that could bring an end to 12 years of deadlock over Iran’s nuclear programme. Read a brief history of the standoff and find out why the outcome of the talks is still in the balance

What’s the story?

The international negotiations over the future of Iran’s nuclear programme are approaching a deadline of 24 November. A deal would curb the Iranian programme – to reassure the rest of the world that Tehran does not intend to build nuclear weapons – in return for sanctions relief. Success would diminish the threat of a new war in the Middle East and significantly improve US-Iranian relations after a 35-year freeze. That in turn could lead to better cooperation in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. Inside Iran, the lifting of sanctions would immeasurably strengthen the hand of pragmatistsled by the president, Hassan Rouhani, who want to re-engage with the west.

How did we get here?……..http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/18/-sp-iran-nuclear-talks-briefing

November 19, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Chance of nuclear war too close for comfort

The nuclear gun is back on the table, Gulf News, Both in private and in public, Russians are making increasingly explicit references to their atomic arsena By Gideon RachmanNovember 18, 2014“………………….Last week, General Philip Breedlove, commander of Nato forces in Europe, said that Russia had “moved forces that are capable of being nuclear” into Crimea. As fighting in Ukraine continues, the danger of Russia and Nato misreading each other’s intentions increases.

Historians of the Cold War have shown that mistakes and miscalculation have brought the world closer to accidental nuclear warfare more often than is commonly realised. A recent report by Britain’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, titled, ‘Too close for comfort’ documents several incidents. Some involved computer malfunctions that led either the US or the USSR to believe that they were under nuclear attack. As the report notes: “Individual decision making, often in disobedience of protocol and political guidance, has on several occasions saved the day.” Several of the most dangerous near-misses took place during periods of heightened political tension between Moscow and Washington. The most famous such incident was the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962. A more recent instance — with a stronger contemporary resonance — was the Able Archer incident of November 1983. In September of that year, the Soviet Union had shot down a Korean Air civilian airliner, killing 267 people. That tragedy, like the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine this year, had significantly raised East-West tensions with the Russians, then as now, accusing America of militarism and plans for world domination.

Against this background, Nato staged a military exercise that acted out a western nuclear strike on the USSR. Operation Able Archer was so thorough and so realistic that many in Moscow interpreted it as preparation for a Nato first-strike. In response, the Russians readied their own nuclear weapons. It appears that intelligence services alerted the West to how Able Archer was being seen in Moscow, allowing for de-escalation.

One lesson of that episode is that the existence of a “hotline” between Moscow and Washington is no guarantee that the two sides will not blunder. Another is that any ambiguous move, involving nuclear weapons, can cause a dangerous panic.

My parents’ generation got grimly used to living in the shadow of the bomb. But for my generation, the very idea of nuclear warfare seems like something from science-fiction or even dark comedy, such as Dr Strangelove. But the world’s nuclear arsenals were not abolished after the Cold War. Sadly, we may now be returning to an era in which the threat of nuclear warfare can no longer be treated as the stuff of science fiction. http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/the-nuclear-gun-is-back-on-the-table-1.1414436

November 19, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

G20 swelters in heatwave, as host country Australia denies importance of climate change

heat_waveAbbott’s nightmare: World leaders to swelter through G20 heatwave, Climate Spectator JOHN CONROY  14 NOV, As it seeks a growth-focus at the G20, the Abbott Government has been struck by another development which will only compound the attention on climate change generated by the US-China vows in Beijing this week. The Bureau of Meteorology is expecting a heatwave across Queensland, with temperatures to be more than 10 degrees above average in parts of the state – including Brisbane. In the state capital, the bureau is forecasting 35 and 39 degrees across the weekend, considerably higher than the city’s November average of 27.8.

Nearby Ipswich – 40km southwest of Brisbane – will touch 41 on Saturday, according to the bureau, it’s hottest November day since 1968 and well above its 30.8 November average, while further inland towns are expecting to reach the mid-40s in the first half of next week.

There will be little overnight relief at the G20, too, with temperatures to remain around the mid-20s in the evenings and only bottom out at 20 degrees early Sunday.

“We’re going to have hot days and hot nights as well,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Narramore said, according to Fairfax Media……….

The heatwave comes as the world tracks for its hottest calendar year on record, having already experienced the hottest consecutive 12 months from October 2013 through to September this year.

Ahead of the G20, a group of health organisations – including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the National Toxics Network – have called on climate change to be on the summit’s agenda, with the chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia pointing out the increased risk of heatwaves. ……..http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/11/14/science-environment/abbotts-nightmare-world-leaders-swelter-through-g20-heatwave?utm_source=exact

November 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

At G20 Australians hold beach protest, mocking their climate denialist Prime Minister Abbott

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmAustralians Stick Their Heads In The Sand To Mock Prime Minister Abbott’s Climate Stance http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/13/australians-stick-heads-sand_n_6150606.html Reuters  | By Sue-Lin Wong SYDNEY, Nov 13 (- More than 400 protesters stuck their heads in the sand on Australia’s Bondi Beach on Thursday, mocking the government’s reluctance to put climate change on the agenda of a G20 summit this weekend.

heads-in-sand

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s perceived failure to address climate change is all the more galling in the wake of an agreement between the United States and China on Wednesday to limit their carbon emissions, they said.
“Obama’s on board, Xi Jinping’s on board, everyone’s on board except one man,” activist Pat Norman, 28, bellowed into a megaphone on the Sydney beach.
“Tony Abbott!” the protesters shouted back.
Folks with babies, school children and working people in business suits dug holes on the beach and stuck their heads in them. The ostrich is said to stick its head in the sand in futile bid to avoid danger.Ornithologists say the African bird does no such thing but that didn’t spoil the cheeky protest.
“Wiggle ya bums if you feel like it,” Norman shouted over the megaphone.
A few athletic types did handstands with their heads in the sand.

Abbott called climate change science “crap” in 2009 and said coal was “good for humanity.” Australia repealed a tax on greenhouse gas emissions in July, the only country to reverse action on climate change. Justin Field, 36, a former army intelligence officer who is running for a seat in state parliament for the Green Party, said Australia had to act.

“To be so far behind the rest of the developed world embarrasses progressive Australia,” he said.

November 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

In climate denialist Australia, President Obama throws down gauntlet to act on climate change

Obama,BarackObama’s University of Queensland speech: President throws down gauntlet to act on climate change news.com.au, 15 Nov 14 PRESIDENT Obama has used his speech at the University of Queensland to throw down the gauntlet on climate change, urging Australia’s young people to act before it’s too late.

“If China and the US can agree on this, the world can agree on this. We need to get this done,” the President told a crowd of around 2000 students and politicians at the University of Queensland on a sweltering day in the city.

“I have not had time to go to the Great Barrier Reef and I want to come back and I want my daughters to come back and I want their daughters and sons to come back and have that be there in 50 years,” he said.

The reference will no doubt put pressure on Prime Minister Tony Abbot, who has been heavily criticised this week by media for refusing to put climate change on the G20’s official agenda.

In his opening address this morning United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said climate change was the “defining issue of our times” and it’s “only natural” G20 leaders should make it a priority.

President Obama also used the speech to announce a $3 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund which aims to help developing nations deal with climate change………http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/obamas-university-of-queensland-speech-president-throws-down-gauntlet-to-act-on-climate-change/story-e6frflo9-1227124098927

November 15, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Any credibility to the G20?

G20-danse-macabreG20 faces crucial test of its credibility as Brisbane summit looms  theguardian.com, Monday 10 November 2014 Is the Group of 20 a genuine agent for change, or just another tired horse on the merry-go-round of international confabs? “…..The G20 was widely praised for stabilising the world economy during the global financial crisis of 2008, but the body has struggled for impact – critics say relevance – since those panicked days. The once-shiny crown of the “world’s premier economic body” has lost a little of its lustre.

In less critical times, its members have struggled to find consensus, descending instead into self-interested bickering, and reforms the G20 has promised have dwarfed those it has actually delivered.

This week’s Brisbane meeting of the Group of 20 will be a crucial test: can it be a genuine agent for change, or just another tired horse on the merry-go-round of international confabs?

The G20 is unquestionably powerful. Collectively, G20 economies account for two-thirds of the world’s people, 85% of its gross product, and three-quarters of global trade.

Unlike the too-exclusive G7, it includes the emerging giants of China, India and Indonesia, along with broader South American, African, and Asian representation. But with only 20 members, it’s nimble enough to make decisions, as it demonstrated during the global crisis……….

In the midst of the [2008 financial] crisis, the G20 co-ordinated the massive fiscal stimuli being pumped into the world’s economies to pull them back from the brink. It redesigned international regulatory rules (through the Basel III agreement), and reformed existing international public institutions such as the International Monetary Fund………

“….if leaders start to lose interest in it, it just becomes yet another meeting in an incredibly-crowded international program, it becomes international space junk, rolling around, sucking up resources and time,” he says. [says Mike Callaghan, program director of the Lowy Institute’s G20 Studies Centre,]………..http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/10/g20-faces-crucial-test-credibility-brisbane-summit-looms

November 12, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

TEPCO reassures world that radioactive contamination ,leaking from Fukushima to Pacific is no health problem

TEPCO Publishes Arrogant Press Release To The US On Fukushima, Simply Info  November 11th, 2014

As news came out about yet another finding of Fukushima radioactive contamination offshore of North America, TEPCO published a rather bizarre press release.

The corporate statement insists the contamination “Level raises no concern for human or animal health”. …..

TEPCO’s press release can be found here:
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2014/1243939_5892.html
Archive copy to preserve original text
TEPCO _ TEPCO ISSUES STATEMENT ON WOODS HOLE REPORT FINDING VERY LOW LEVEL OF CESIUM 134 FROM FUKUSHIMA OFF CALIFORNIA COAST  http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=14080

November 12, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Imagine a bright clean sustainable world!

renewable-energy-world-SmSolarpunk: a new movement sees the future in a positive light BIANCA NOGRADY ABC Environment 10 NOV 2014 A new theme is emerging in science fiction literature and art: solarpunk. It imagines the future as bright, green and sustainable. “IMAGINE A SUSTAINABLE world, driven by clean and renewable energy. Now imagine large space sailboats driven by solar radiation, production of biofuels via nanotechnology, the advent of photosynthetic humans, and, as there is no perfect society, even terrorism against corrupt businesses and governments. Welcome to the bright green world of solarpunk.”

The past decade has seen a huge rise in post-apocalyptic and dystopian science fiction, particularly aimed at young adults, exploring a variety of unpleasant possible futures, ranging from planet-wide desolation and starvation, to a world in which the uber-rich live in space-borne luxury while the poor languish on a stricken Earth.

But a new theme may be emerging; one that reflects our desire for a more optimistic but also more realistic vision of humanity’s near-future; that acknowledges we have some enormous challenges and changes ahead, but allows us to believe we may yet meet those challenges and survive not only as a species but as a civilisation.

You may not have heard of solarpunk, and given that this sub-genre and cultural movement has so far largely been discussed only on social media sites such as Tumblr and Twitter, you wouldn’t be the only one………

solarpunk’s most important feature is its optimism, at a time when the prevailing winds are blowing due apocalypse.

“When you start talking to people about climate change, it’s very easy for them to hit on the immensity of it all and just freeze up and say maybe it doesn’t mean anything, why should I care if there’s nothing I can do, what does this mean etc,” says Flynn.

“I think there’s a lot that people can do to reframe thinking about how we talk about it and react towards it, and I think art has a role to play in that.”

As billions of people in the developing world begin the rise out of poverty, they are looking for a vision of the ‘good life’, he says, and unfortunately, at the moment, that vision tends to involve fast food, large cars, big houses, and conspicuous consumption.

“We need to have more models of what a scalable sustainable vision of a life lived with human dignity will be.”

November 12, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

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