nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Macho Madness – nuclear history – theme for February 18

The nuclear industry was born in macho madness – and has stayed that way ever since.

If women had equal say –   had any say – things might have been different.

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January 27, 2018 Posted by | Christina's themes | 3 Comments

Nuclear news in brief – week to 18th February

A thaw in North Korea’s attitude, with the Winter Olympics. Cynics dismiss this as propaganda, but it has obviously brought some calm to the situation in the two Koreas, and perhaps even changed the equation North Korea v USA.

The nuclear news this week has been dominated by the global problem of nuclear waste – what to do with it? France’s EDF proposes a  gigantic nuclear garbage pool.  Japan has a glut of plutonium wastes. America’s Hanford wastes cleanup will cost $111 billion.  The Swedish version of UK’s Radioactive Waste Management was rejected by Swedish Environment Court. Only now after 32 years, is Ukraine starting to remove the liquid nuclear wastes from the shattered Chernobyl reactor. Cumbrians are rejecting UK’s nuclear waste. The Australian government is quietly trying to bribe outback communities into hosting nuclear waste, with a deceptive tale about “medical needs” . As for Fukushima – don’t get me started.

Of course – none of the authorities in any of these countries has suggested the idea of stopping making  radioactive trash!

 

2017 – 2018 The trends in nuclear power construction.

Research into low dose radiation – a very complex issue.

SOUTH KOREAQuiet diplomacy brought South and North Korean athletes together for the Winter Olympics.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea wants to mend relations with South Korea – but also to continue nuclear military development.

UK.

JAPAN. Japan’s problem of no place to put low-level waste from nuclear reactors. (They haven’t got anywhere for high level wastes either) . Japan has enough plutonium for 5,000 nuclear warheads, and its Constitution does not rule them out 2020 Japan Olympics and the threat of nuclear terrorism. Kobe steel firm might have falsified data on nuclear waste container safetyDrone to probe Fukushima N-plant interior.

USA.

FRANCE.  EDF and the director of the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power plant (Ardèche) fined over nuclear waste mismanagement.  France’s energy giant EDF now making a revolutionary change – from nuclear to renewables?

SOUTH AFRICA. Hopes that South Africa’s new president will scrap nuclear deal.

RUSSIA. Mayak area- Radiation levels last fall 1,000 times above normal. Residents of Russia’s Yaroslavl region got a “false’ radiation alert scareBlow to Russia’s nuclear marketing ambitions – other investors back out of Turkey nuclear build.

ALGERIA. The untold story of Algeria’s victims of French nuclear bomb tests.

CHINA. China again delays building Westinghouse-designed AP1000 nuclear reactor, because of safety worries.

PAKISTANNew types of nuclear weapons being developed by Pakistan.

 

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

North Korea wants to mend relations with South Korea – but also to continue nuclear military development

North Korea seeks easing tensions, but vows to advance nuclear power  Nikkei Asian Review, 16 Feb 18, BEIJING (Kyodo) — North Korea called on South Korea on Friday to abandon its joint military drills with the United States to improve inter-Korean ties further, while reiterating its eagerness to advance its nuclear capacity to make the country a military power.

 Uriminzokkiri, North Korea’s propaganda website, said U.S.-South Korea joint exercises, which have been postponed while the Winter Olympics and Paralympics are under way in the South, “should be ended forever.”

“To mend relations between the north and the south and to make a breakthrough toward the unification, military tensions should be reduced as a matter of first priority,” it said in its editorial published on the 76th anniversary of former leader Kim Jong Il’s birth.

Pyongyang has been steadfastly opposed to the annual joint military drills, describing them as preparations for invasion.

The official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, meanwhile, said in an editorial Friday that Pyongyang has become a nuclear power thanks to earnest efforts by Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader Kim Jong Un.

“We have to boost our prestige as the world’s strongest nuclear nation,” the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s most influential newspaper, said, indicating Pyongyang is still intending to develop nuclear weapons despite a thaw with the South.

Relations between the two Koreas are apparently improving after North Korea decided to join the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which began late last week. Through high-level delegates including his sister, Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae In to visit Pyongyang for a summit.

Washington and Seoul have agreed to suspend their joint military drills until the March 18 end of the Paralympics, to which North Korea has pledged to send its athletes.

Pyongyang, however, has so far shown no sign of giving up its missile and nuclear development programs despite facing U.N. sanctions that ban it from developing or testing nuclear and ballistic missile technology…….https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/North-Korea-seeks-easing-tensions-but-vows-to-advance-nuclear-power

 

February 17, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear veterans to be DNA tested

DNA tests for UK’s nuclear bomb veterans http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43075718 16 February 2018 

Decades ago they witnessed nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific. Now some veterans hope new DNA testing will prove it was responsible for their subsequent ill health, which they say ruined their lives.

“It was awe-inspiring, like another sun hanging in the sky. The blast bowled people over. A few men were on the ground screaming.”

(Picture is not of Bob Fleming. It is of Gomer Hickman) 

Bob Fleming was wearing a T-shirt, khaki shorts and flip flops when the bomb went off.

At just 24, he had just witnessed one of the most powerful weapons on earth detonate on Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean.

It was 1956 and the Cold War threat was growing.

The RAF serviceman was one of around 22,000 British service personnel who witnessed nuclear weapons tests on mainland Australia, the Montebello Islands off Western Australia and Christmas Island in the South Pacific between 1952 and 1958.

With their backs to the bomb, they felt the intense heat from the explosion first.

Then, after the countdown, they were ordered to turn round and look directly at the huge mushroom cloud in front of them.

“We had no protective clothing,” said Bob, who’s from Downham Market in Norfolk.

“We were guinea pigs. It was so bright I could see the bones in my hands with my eyes closed. It was like an X-ray.”

‘Genetic curse’

The veterans say the nuclear tests ruined their lives, causing cancers, fertility problems and birth defects passed down the generations.

Now 83, the great-grandfather believes that three generations of his family are living with the “genetic curse” of those explosions. Sixteen out of 21 of his descendants have had birth defects or health problems.

His youngest daughter, Susanne Ward, has thyroid problems and severe breathing difficulties, and her teeth fell out prematurely.

“It just gets worse as the next generation comes along. Our grandchildren have similar problems,” Suzanne said.

“My dad blames himself, but it isn’t his fault.”

  • The Fleming family now hope new DNA testing could end decades of uncertainty.Last week, the UK’s first Centre for Health Effects of Radiological and Chemical Agents was launched at Brunel University in London.One of its projects is a three-year genetic study looking for any possible damage to the veterans’ DNA caused by the tests.

    Blood samples will be taken from 50 veterans who were stationed at nuclear test sites, and compared with a control group of 50 veterans who served elsewhere.

    Blood will also be taken from their wives and any children they have together.

    Dr Rhona Anderson, who is leading the study, said a major question to answer is whether “there is a genetic legacy of taking part at these nuclear tests”.

    “If no differences (in the DNA) are seen between test and control groups then this will be reassuring for the nuclear community.”

    ‘No valid evidence link’

    Fewer than 3,000 nuclear veterans are still alive today.

    They cannot volunteer for the study, as that might lead to bias in the results.

    Veterans will be selected using military service records and information available about those who were most at risk of exposure to radiation.

    The Ministry of Defence says it is grateful to Britain’s nuclear test veterans for their service, but maintains there is no valid evidence to link participation in these tests to ill health.

    The UK is the only nuclear power to deny special recognition and compensation to its bomb test veterans.

    The veterans took their case for compensation to the highest court in the land and lost in 2012.

    The Supreme Court Justices said the veterans would face great difficulty proving a link between their illnesses and the tests.

    In 2015 the Aged Veterans’ Fund was set up by the government using bank industry fines. It will help to fund a series of social and scientific projects.

    Doug Hern, who’s 81, and his wife Sandie, from Lincolnshire have been campaigning tirelessly for years.

    When Doug was 21 he saw five nuclear explosions on Christmas Island and has suffered ill health ever since.

    He said is skeleton is “crumbling”. He has skin problems and bone spurs.

    His daughter died, aged 13, from a cancer so rare it did not have a name. He believes this was a consequence of her inheriting his “corrupted genes”.

    Sandie Hern is vice-chair of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA)

    “The veterans have been treated abominably. They’ve been forgotten. We need this research to see if anything can be done to help their children,” she said.

    The overall aim of the new centre at Brunel is to work closely with the veteran community to improve their health and well-being in the future.

    After years of personal suffering, the Flemings want to have their DNA tested and are waiting to hear if they have been selected.

    Six decades on, nuclear families are still living in the aftermath of the bomb tests, and searching for answers.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hopes that South Africa’s new president will scrap nuclear deal

Greenpeace Africa hopes Ramaphosa will scrap nuclear deal https://www.iol.co.za/business-report/energy/greenpeace-africa-hopes-ramaphosa-will-scrap-nuclear-deal-13320867 16 FEBRUARY 2018 CAPE TOWN – “We trust that president Cyril Ramaphosa will listen to the massive opposition from the South African public and leave the dodgy nuclear deal far behind,” Greenpeace Africa said on Friday.

The South African civil society groups and opposition parties have been pushing back on government’s plan to add 9 600 megawatts of electricity to the grid through nuclear plants.

Happy Khambule, the political advisor at Greenpeace Africa notes that there is a tough job ahead for the new leadership of the country. “We believe one of the most pressing issues is to start to create stability, increase trust in the country’s government, and to choose a new pathway in establishing transparency and accountability in the energy sector”.

In an interview with the eNCA, Khambule has said that they will utilize all communication platforms at their availability to engage with the relevant government departments in ensuring that Greanpeace influences Ramaphosa’s decisions on energy matters.

Greenpeace Africa also looks forward to the new Integrated Resource Plan and calls on Ramaphosa to “stop that coal”.

Khambule feels that there was a distant relationship between the former president Jacob Zuma and the energy advocacy groups.

“It is time to remove the barriers to renewable energy, which can enable the achievement of universal access to energy and power disadvantaged communities much faster and at a cost South Africans can afford. We call on the President to push ahead with a renewable-powered future that will not leave South Africans in the dark,” this organisation said in a statement.

Ramaphosa recently commented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, that South Africa had “excess power right now and we have no money to go for major nuclear plant building”.

Melita Steele, the senior campaign manager at Greenpeace Africa said, “Greenpeace has long argued that nuclear is never safe, and is simply unaffordable”.

She further said that the organisation looks forward to the updated IRP without the inclusion of crushing nuclear energy investments.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa will soon elect his new cabinet and the Energy Minister, David Mahlobo is unlikely to retain his position, according to lobby groups and economists.

Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse told Business Report that Mahlobo has limited experience on energy and his appointment as the Energy Minister was based on Zuma’s interest in speeding up the nuclear deal with Russia. “Ramaphosa will be problematic with him in this regard”.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

France’s energy giant EDF now making a revolutionary change – from nuclear to renewables?

EDF kick-starts ‘unprecedented acceleration’ in renewables as nuclear slides https://www.cleanenergynews.co.uk/news/solar/edf-kick-starts-unprecedented-acceleration-in-renewables-as-nuclear-slides, By Liam Stoker, 16 Feb 2018, 

February 17, 2018 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

NFLA report on UK National Policy Statement – nuclear is not needed

NFLA 15th Feb 2018, NFLA report on UK National Policy Statement for new nuclear argues it is
‘not needed’ given existing energy efficiency measures and the growing
deployment of cheaper renewable energy alternatives are more effective. The
Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today its analysis of the
UK Government’s proposals to develop a new National Policy Statement
(NPS) for the deployment of new nuclear power stations. In its report NFLA
notes that changes in the electricity system have seen renewable energy
deployment rapidly taking place at the same time as its costs have come
down, and at the same time wider energy demand has significantly reduced
compared to government projections.
http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nfla-report-uk-national-policy-statement-new-nuclear-not-needed/

February 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

The St Louis West Lake’s radioactive time bomb must go

Editorial: EPA chief’s only true option is to remove West Lake’s radioactive hazards http://www.stltoday.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-epa-chief-s-only-true-option-is-to-remove/article_929d4e36-9dc3-519b-af15-a9e5a8b582ce.html, By the Editorial Board, Jan 29, 2018 

E

      nvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is

hours away from a decision

       on the future of the West Lake Landfill — a decision that could free the St. Louis area of the seven-decade environmental burden it has borne in America’s quest for nuclear superiority.

For Pruitt, the right decision would be costly and complicated. The wrong decision, though far cheaper and most expedient, would leave in place a radioactive nightmare that would haunt the region for generations to come. The right decision is the only decision.

At issue are thousands of tons of radioactive waste left over from secret uranium refinement carried out in St. Louis during the Manhattan Project, the 1940s effort to produce America’s first nuclear bomb. Although officials at the time were well aware of the radioactive dangers, they paid little heed to where they dumped the wastes from years of uranium processing. An uncovered, unlined pit at the West Lake landfill became the dumpsite of choice, two miles northwest of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The landfill, uphill and less than two miles from the Missouri River, was never designed for radioactive waste and never would have met today’s federal safety guidelines. Various radioactive hot zones have been discovered in downstream watersheds, as have large cancer clusters among residents. For years, a slow-moving underground fire at an adjacent landfill is believed to be advancing toward the buried nuclear waste.

 In tests conducted from 2012 to 2014, groundwater at West Lake contained unsafe levels of radioactive uranium, radium and thorium-230, along with arsenic, manganese, barium and benzene.

An exhaustive, 814-page EPA study, updated on Jan. 10, outlines the dangers and costs associated with six options Pruitt can choose from for West Lake. One option, doing nothing, is laughable. Three cheaper proposals call for partial excavation of the site at varying depths and capping the site but leaving many toxins behind. The two best options involve full excavation — one would store the waste on-site in a modern, secure containment cell, and the other would transport it offsite to a remote, federally approved storage facility.

 Full excavation and removal would keep the region safest over the long term. But it’s also the most expensive option at $695 million. Capping the site would cost about $75 million but also would pose the greatest future cancer risks to farmers and residents downstream.

Pruitt has the comfort of making this decision from Washington, D.C., far from the exposure zone. We urge him to consider all who have suffered so far because of the irresponsible, lazy solutions imposed on St. Louis decades ago. If Pruitt would regard it as unacceptable for his own family to be exposed to such risks, then he must conclude that St. Louisans deserve the same consideration. This radioactive time bomb must go.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

What are the trends in nuclear power construction?

A year in review: the trends in nuclear construction http://www.constructionglobal.com/infrastructure/year-review-trends-nuclear-construction By DAN BRIGHTMORE Feb 12, 2018 

February 17, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Mayak area- Radiation levels last fall 1,000 times above normal

Radiation levels near this Siberian village were 1,000 times above normal last fall. But no one worried much, LA Times, FEB 16, 2018 sabra.ayres@latimes.com, KHUDAIBERDYNSK, RUSSIA  “…. this Siberian landscape on the edge of the Ural Mountains bore the brunt of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents. On Sept. 29, 1957, decades before Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima entered the lexicon of landmark nuclear disasters, a buried cache of liquid radioactive waste from Mayak exploded. More than a quarter-million people were exposed to radiation, and nearly two dozen villages, home to more than 10,000 people, had to be vacated forever.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | environment, Russia | Leave a comment

Review of John Scales Avery’s book  ‘Nuclear Weapons: an Absolute Evil’

Nuclear Weapons: an Absolute Evil, The Citizen, ANNE BARING | 16 FEBRUARY, 2018   Review of John Scales Avery’s book  “……. Most of the planet’s inhabitants, even those who are highly educated and working in governments and organizations like the United Nations have very little awareness of what an exchange of nuclear weapons would be like or what its immediate and long-term effects would be in terms of the massive numbers of civilian deaths and the rapid deterioration of the planetary environment. This is the lacuna that Professor Avery’s book sets out to fill in an admirably clear and comprehensive way, enriching it with photographs and quotations from men who have, from the outset, expressed their opposition to nuclear weapons.

The book is an education in itself on the many facets of this complex subject including how these weapons first came into being in first five, then nine nuclear nations. It addresses both the amorality and the illegality of nuclear weapons. Many people like myself who are appalled by the existence of nuclear weapons but insufficiently informed of their history and the threat they pose to the planetary biosphere, could benefit by reading its highly informative chapters.

The first chapter, “The Threat of Nuclear War”, explores the important subject of how existing ethical principles about avoiding the bombing of civilians were eroded during the Second World War with the carpet bombing of cities by German and British air forces, culminating in the incendiary raids on Coventry, Hamburg and Dresden that destroyed those and other German cities and many thousands of their helpless inhabitants.

Not long after these, in August 1945, came the horrific obliteration of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the first atom bombs, together with most of their civilian inhabitants. It is noteworthy that the First and Second World Wars cost the lives of 26 million soldiers but 64 million civilians. We live, Professor Avery comments, in an age of space-age science but stone-age politics.

Instead of drawing back in horror from the evil it had unleashed, America and then the Soviet Union embarked on an arms race that has led, step by step, to the current existence of nine nuclear nations and some 17,000 nuclear weapons, with the greater part of these situated in the United States and Russia.

Thousands of these are kept on permanent “hair-trigger” alert. 200 of these nuclear bombs are situated in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, as well as Turkey, available for use by NATO and placed there by the United States principally to deter a Russian attack. The danger of the launch of one of these weapons in error is a constant possibility and would precipitate a genocidal catastrophe.

His first chapter also addresses the important concept of nuclear deterrence and shows how, according to the historic 1996 decision by the International Court of Justice in the Hague, this was declared to be not only unacceptable from the standpoint of ethics but also contrary to International Law as well as the principles of democracy. The latter have been reflected in the pattern of voting at the United Nations (originally founded to abolish the Institution of War) which has consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of the world’s people wish to be rid of nuclear weapons.

The basic premise of this chapter and indeed, the entire book, is that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil and that no defence can be offered for them, particularly the defence that they act as a deterrent. He brings evidence to show that the effects of even a small nuclear war would be global and all the nations of the world would suffer. Because of its devastating effects on global agriculture, even a small nuclear war could result in a ‘nuclear winter’ and in an estimated billion deaths from famine.

A large-scale nuclear war would completely destroy all agriculture for a period of ten years. Large areas of the world would be rendered permanently uninhabitable because of the ‘nuclear winter’ and the radioactive contamination affecting plants, animals and humans.

Summarising at the end of this chapter Professor Avery writes: “In the world as it is, the nuclear weapons now stockpiled are sufficient to kill everyone on earth several times over. Nuclear technology is spreading, and many politically unstable countries have recently acquired nuclear weapons or may acquire them soon. Even terrorist groups or organized criminals may acquire such weapons, and there is an increasing danger that they will be used.”

To believe that deterrence is a preventive to their being used is to live in a fool’s paradise. It only needs one inadvertent mistake, one mis-reading of a computer, one terrorist nuclear bomb to unleash unimaginable horror on the world. There have already been several near disasters. Governments claim to protect their populations by holding these weapons. Instead, they offer them as hostages to the greed and will to power of the giant corporations, of arms manufacturers such as BAE and the Military-Industrial Complex in general. Professor Avery refers to the greed for power that drives each of these as “The Devil’s Dynamo”.

As an example of this will to power, concealed beneath the mask of deterrence, there is the existence of a Trident submarine which is on patrol at all times, armed with an estimated eight missiles, each of which can carry up to five warheads. In total, that makes 40 warheads, each with an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons of conventional high explosive—eight times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 which killed an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation. One nuclear submarine can incinerate more than 40 million human beings. This capacity for mass murder is presented as essential for our defence but it begs the question: ‘How many people are we prepared to exterminate in order to ensure our security?’ We would have no protection against a reciprocally fired nuclear missile directed at us. The concept of deterrence puts us at risk of instant annihilation.

Many people are not aware that the illegality of war was established in 1946 when the United Nations General Assembly unanimously affirmed “The principles of international law recognized by the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the judgment of the Tribunal.” These set out the crimes that henceforth were punishable under international law. It is obvious that the nine nuclear nations, in developing and holding their weapons, have ignored and violated these principles.

Professor Avery draws attention to the significant fact that NATO’s nuclear weapons policy violates both the spirit and the text of the NPT. An estimated one hundred and eighty US nuclear weapons, all of them B-61 hydrogen bombs, are still on European soil with the air forces of the nations in which they are based regularly trained to deliver the US weapons.

These nations are Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands as well as the United Kingdom with its Trident submarines. Turkey, one of the 29 nations that have joined NATO holds about 50 hydrogen bombs at a US base at Incirlik. The aim of all these weapons is to intimidate Russia. This “nuclear sharing” as he points out, “violates Articles 1 and 11 of the NPT, which forbid the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon states.”

In another most important chapter “Against Nuclear Proliferation” Professor Avery draws attention to the danger of nuclear reactors, a danger that is very rarely reflected on by the governments who have committed vast sums to building them and is virtually unknown to the general public. ……….

Summing up the effects on the world of a nuclear war, Professor Avery writes:

The danger of a catastrophic nuclear war casts a dark shadow over the future of our species. It also casts a very black shadow over the future of the global environment. The environmental consequences of a massive exchange of nuclear weapons have been treated in a number of studies by meteorologists and other experts from both East and West. They predict that a large-scale use of nuclear weapons would result in fire storms with very high winds and high temperatures [similar to what happened in Hamburg and Dresden]… The resulting smoke and dust would block out sunlight for a period of many months, at first only in the northern hemisphere but later also in the southern hemisphere. Temperatures in many places would fall far below freezing, and much of the earth’s plant life would be killed. Animals and humans would then die of starvation.

I cannot recommend this book too highly. It has given me what I wanted to know and what I had no immediate access to: the complete picture of how we have lost our humanity and how we could regain it by ridding the Earth of these demonic weapons. ………

(Professor Avery is Associate Professor Emeritus at the University of Copenhagen.

Nuclear Weapons: an Absolute Evil can be purchased at http://www.lulu.com/home or downloaded from http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/library/nuclear.pdf

Anne Baring is an author and a Jungian Analyst: www.annebaring.comhttps://youtu.be/TOsuJuHUgv4 on nuclear weapons) http://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/9/13044/Nuclear-Weapons-an-Absolute-Evil

February 17, 2018 Posted by | resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NASA’s expensive nuclear space race

NASA revives its Cold War-era idea of using atomic rockets to create ‘drastically smaller’ craft that will get to Mars by the 2030s

NASA plans to use the same technology it discontinued using in the 1970s
NASA partnered with BWXT Nuclear Energy to develop nuclear propulsion tech
A nuclear system can cut the voyage time to Mars from six months to just four
Nuclear Thermal Propulsion project could significantly change space travel

“……..NASA says it will use technology it discontinued in the 1970s to create ‘drastically smaller’ craft capable of greater speeds than their non-nuclear rivals.

This system could cut the voyage time to Mars from six months to four and safely deliver human explorers by reducing their exposure to cosmic radiation.

NASA first hinted at the potential for nuclear thermal propulsion technologies last year, saying that they are more promising than ever.

It partnered with BWXT Nuclear Energy, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, in an $18.8 million (£13.3m) contract to refine those concepts.

The resulting Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) project could significantly change space travel, according to its creators.

This is mostly due to its ability to push a large amount of propellant out of the back of a rocket at very high speeds, resulting in a highly efficient, high-thrust engine.

‘As we push out into the solar system, nuclear propulsion may offer the only truly viable technology option to extend human reach to the surface of Mars and to worlds beyond,’ said Sonny Mitchell, nuclear thermal propulsion project manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre, in Huntsville, Alabama.

We’re excited to be working on technologies that could open up deep space for human exploration.’

…….. getting to Mars entails a 55 million-kilometre (34 million-mile) flight, more than 100 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

The NTP project is under the umbrella of NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, which advances space technologies that may lead to entirely new approaches for the Agency’s future space missions and provide solutions to significant national needs.

Given its experience delivering nuclear fuels for the US Navy, BWXT will help with the design and testing of  promising, low-enriched uranium-based nuclear thermal engine concept and ‘Cermet’ – ceramic metallic – fuel element technolgy.

During BWXT-NASA contract, which is set to run through to September 30, 2019, BWXT will manufacture and test prototype fuel elements and also help NASA address and resolve nuclear licensing and regulatory requirements.

The project will test full-length fuel rods using a unique Marshall test facility.

………. the complexities of the technology and testing could lead to high development costs, which could be a major barrier, however, using NASA technology developed decades ago could help speed up progress, says Claudio Bruno,

Russia also has plans to reach the red planet using nuclear technologies.

Russia’s Rosatorm Corporation plans this year to test a nuclear engine for a spacecraft that can travel to Mars.

China also plans to use nuclear-powered shuttles as part of its space explortation endeavours through to 2045.

NASA also faces competition in reaching Mars from the likes of Elon Musk and his company SpaceX, which just launched its Falcon Heavy rocket, which is designed to carry humans to space.

However, SpaceX is planning on using a liquid oxygen and methane fueled engine.

…….NASA is also developing technologies that could power human settlements on Mars.

The agency, along with the Department of Energy, is developing Kilopower which could provide 10 kilowatts of power and be used on others planets.  ….http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5399043/NASA-set-use-nuclear-powered-rockets-reach-Mars.html

February 17, 2018 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear corporation EDF ‘s profits fall in UK,- low prices, and rising energy efficiency – lower consumption

EDF UK profits hit by fall in sterling and nuclear prices   https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/16/edf-uk-profits-hit-by-fall-in-sterling-and-nuclear-prices Rob Davies, 17 Feb 18  Pound’s decline against euro costs French firm €608m as home energy usage also dropsFrench state-owned energy firm EDF reported falling profits, including a downturn in the UK due to falling prices for nuclear power, improved energy efficiency among its household customers and the slide in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote

Profits in the UK division, which includes EDF Energy, slumped by a third to €1.035 (£920m) as sales dwindled by €579m to €8.68bn, partly because UK customers pay their bills in pounds but the company reports its results in euros.

EDF said the decline of the pound against the euro had cost it €608m.

The company has faced criticism over delays and the cost of its £20bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. However, it has blamed a 12% fall in nuclear energy prices in the UK, where it is the market leader. 

Revenues were depressed by lower home energy consumption among customers, with usage falling 1.9% due to “milder weather and rising energy efficiency”.

 EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, reported a 2.2% decline in overall revenues to €69.6bn, with profits down 16% to €13.7bn, excluding the impact of asset sales.

It said group results had declined due to lower prices in almost all of the regions where it operates and an exodus of nearly 1 million customers.

It was also affected by lower nuclear and hydroelectric output in its domestic market, where it is the dominant supplier with more than 85% market share.

Last year the company had unplanned outages at some of its 58 French nuclear plants, where reactors had to be shut down for safety reasons. 

It lost 960,000 customers, shaving €341m off profits, blaming the exodus on heightened competition, including in the UK.

Chief executive and chairman Jean-Bernard Levy said the group’s profitability in the face of a “difficult market context” was evidence of EDF’s financial strength, adding that he expects a “rebound” in 2018.

He said the company would launch an “unprecedented” ramp-up of renewable energy this year, as France looks to reduce nuclear’s share of power generation from 75% to 50% by 2025.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

World At Risk Of ‘Nuclear Confrontation,’ UN Chief Warns

  Radio Free Europe, 16 Feb 18, MUNICH — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the world faces the “threat of a nuclear confrontation” in light of North Korea’s nuclear activities, while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the international community must apply “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and weapons program. ……https://www.rferl.org/a/un-guterres-world-at-risk-of-nuclear-confrontation-cold-war/29044113.html

February 17, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The Dounreay nuclear site in Thurso was rated as ‘at risk’

Energy Voice 15th Feb 2018, The Dounreay nuclear site in Thurso was rated as ‘at risk’ by the 2016
SEPA report owing to a number of management breaches over the period. A
spokeswoman for Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd said: “Safety, security and
environmental compliance is always our first priority and we are committed
to the highest standards of performance. “Decommissioning of the site is
recognised as one of the most complex in Europe as we maintain and
ultimately dismantle a large number of facilities that date back several
decades.
https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/163763/environmental-concerns-scottish-energy-sites-rated-poor/

February 17, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s problem of no place to put low-level waste from nuclear reactors

All utilities lack disposal sites for low-level waste from reactors http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201802160049.htmlBy TSUNEO SASAI/ Staff Writer, February 16, 201 8

Seven electric power companies that plan to decommission nuclear reactors have yet to secure disposal sites for the low-level radioactive waste produced in the dismantling process, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed on Feb. 16.

It may take years for the utilities to gain approval from local governments to dispose of the waste, some of which must remain buried for 100,000 years, meaning that the decommissioning work could be suspended.

Low-level radioactive waste generated during conventional operations of nuclear reactors can be buried at a disposal site of Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

However, the electric power companies themselves must dispose of the low-level radioactive waste produced during decommissioning work.

The Asahi Shimbun asked 10 electric power companies, including Japan Atomic Power Co., about whether they have secured disposal sites for low-level radioactive waste.

Seven companies–Tokyo Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co., Chugoku Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power–replied that they have not secured sites despite their plans to decommission reactors.

In total, they plan to decommission 17 reactors.

The demolition of a 1.1 gigawatt-class nuclear reactor produces more than 10,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste.

The three other companies–Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Hokuriku Electric Power Co.–also have not secured disposal sites, but they have no decommissioning plans at the moment.

“We are not considering decommissioning our nuclear reactors,” a Hokuriku Electric Power official said. “As of now, we have not yet decided on a plan to secure disposal sites.”

There are three categories of nuclear waste–L1, L2 and L3–depending on their radioactivity levels.

L1 waste, which has the highest radioactivity level and includes control rods, must be buried more than 70 meters deep into the ground for 300 to 400 years.

After that, the government manages the waste for 100,000 years.

The government is currently studying regulation standards for such waste.

Electric power companies decided to decommission some of their nuclear reactors after the March 2011 disaster unfolded at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Full-fledged decommissioning work is expected to start soon, but parts removed from the reactors have high radiation levels and cannot be placed temporarily in the compounds of nuclear power plants.

High-level radioactive waste is also produced as a result of the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. The government is looking for a disposal site for such waste.

Electric power companies could heighten their demands that the government get involved in efforts to secure disposal sites for low-level radioactive waste.

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment