nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

The economic disaster that is the nuclear industry – theme for February 2016

Tax - payers

A bunch of American billionaires is trying to save the astronomically expensive nuclear industry – by getting taxpayers to pay for even more astronomically costly “little new nukes”.

Meanwhile in China,  France UK, South Korea – and even in America, governments are desperately propping up the super costly “big old nukes’ .

In a world where charlatan Donald Trump can become USA President – the nuclear salestext-SMRsmen might well think  that any fraud can be perpetrated on the public.

But not for long.

The genuinely clean energy transition is under way world-wide, andpeaceful-nuke becoming ever cheaper.

The “peaceful” nuclear industry is intrinsically linked to the multi $billion nuclear weapons industry. Yet even the nuclear weapons industry is under threat, with the coming UN nuclear  disarmament conference.

Even if concern for the public good does not stop the toxic nuclear industry – the unaffordable economic costs eventually will

January 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear and climate news for past 10 days

a-cat-CANBlissfully away from news, and from all matters digital, –   I returned to find that the climate and environment politics are worse than ever in USA and Australia.

Meanwhile, on the nuclear scene, things would be farcical, if they were not so dangerous. Donald Trump wants to expand US nuclear arsenal, make it ‘top of the pack’. Australia’s own Dr Helen  Caldicott set out all too  clearly the grim situation at Fukushima Daiichi  nuclear  complex.

The farcical  part is in the nuclear lobby’s pretense that theirs is a viable industry. As the giant Toshiba corporation nears bankruptcy, and nuclear power stations go down like dominoes in USA, it’s really only China where the industry still might save itself. And that’s dubious, too.

Global action is needed, NOW, to defeat the out-of-control Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Effect of air pollution might have masked mid-20th Century sea ice loss.

EUROPE. Iodine 131 reported in Europe in January 2017 – European radiation facts revealed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_30LrqgHqg   Radiation ‘sniffer plane’ over Europe.

USA.

JAPAN.  Almost six years on, Fukushima nuclear disaster still ongoing nightmare. Global nuclear catastrophe waits in the wings, as Japan plans for Olympics.  Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees ‘pressured’ to return to contaminated homes, says Greenpeace. Nuclear station restart at Oi is approved – but local consent is needed.   Toshiba’s c rippling burden of its overseas nuclear business.

SOUTH AFRICA. Court case to save South Africa from nuclear-industry caused bankruptcy.

FRANCE. Long closure of Flamanville nuclear reactor is costing EDF £1m a day.

CHINA. China delays nuclear reactor start again and again. Opposition to nuclear power grows. China’s culture, and the fear of speaking out on environmental concerns.

INDIA. Solar power for 7,000 Railway Stations In India.

PAKISTAN. Pakistan and India have agreed to extend their bilateral nuclear safety agreement.

RUSSIA. Russia lessening its reliance on nuclear weapons.

ALGERIA. Algerian human rights agency to prosecute France for nuclear tests.

UNITED ARAB  EMIRATES. Arab states might develop nuclear weapons? United Arab Emirates push for nuclear power

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

February 2017: 184 Thyroid Cancer Suspected/Confirmed (1 Additional Case)

Highlights:

  • One more case of suspected thyroid cancer was diagnosed by cytology since the last report.
  • No additional surgeries since the last report: the number of confirmed cancer cases remains at 145 (101 in the first round and 44 in the second round)
  • Total number of confirmed/suspected thyroid cancer diagnosed (excluding a single case of benign tumor) is 184 (115 in the first round and 69 in the second round)
  • The second round screening data is still not final (confirmatory examination still ongoing).
  • Thyroid Examination Evaluation Subcommittee will be convened in May or June 2017 to evaluate the results of the second round screening.

On February 20, 2017, less than two months since the last report, the 26th Oversight Committee for Fukushima Health Management Survey convened in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture. Among other information, the Oversight Committee released the latest results (as of December 31, 2016) of the second and third rounds of the Thyroid Ultrasound Examination (TUE). Official English translation of the results will be posted here. The narrative below presents basic facts of TUE and its current results in perspective, including information covered during the committee meeting and the subsequent press conference.

Overview
As of December 31, 2016, there is only 1 more case with cancer or suspicion of cancer from the second round, making a grand total of 184 (185 including the single case of post-surgically confirmed benign nodule) for the first and second round screening results combined. The number of surgically confirmed cancer cases, excluding the aforementioned case of benign nodule, did not change from the previous report (101 from the first round and 44 from the second round), and the remaining 38 (14 from the first round and 24 from the second round) continue to be under observation.

The second round screening (the first Full-Scale screening) was originally scheduled to be conducted from April 2014 through March 2016, and the primary examination (with the participation rate of 70.9% and the progress rate of 100.0%), is essentially complete. But the confirmatory examination (with the participation rate of 79.5% and the progress rate of 95.0%) is still ongoing.

The third round screening (the second Full-Scale Screening) began on May 1, 2016 and is scheduled to run through March 2018–the end of Fiscal Year 2018. As of December 31, 2016, 87,217 out of the survey population of 336,623 residents have participated in the ongoing primary examination at the participation rate of 25.9%. The confirmatory examination began on October 1, 2016, with the participation rate of 29.6% so far.

Full-Scale Screening (first and second)
To be conducted every 2 years until age 20 and every 5 years after age 20, the Full-Scale screening began with the second round screening (the first Full-Scale Screening) in April 2014, including those who were born in the first year after the accident. There are 381,282 eligible individuals born between April 2, 1992 and April 1, 2012. As of December 31, 2016, 270,489 actually participated in the primary examination.

The participation rate remained the same as 3 months earlier at 70.9% but lower than 81.7% from the first round screening. Results of the primary examination have been finalized in 270,468 participants, and 2,226 (increased by 4 since the last Oversight Committee meeting) turned out to require the confirmatory examination.

The confirmatory examination is still ongoing for the second round. Of 2,226 requiring the confirmatory examination, 1,770 have participated at the participation rate of 79.5% (increased from the previous 75.8% but still lower than 92.8% from the first round screening). So far 1,681 have received final results including 95 that underwent fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) which revealed 69 cases suspicious for cancer.

Confirmation of thyroid cancer requires pathological examination of the resected thyroid tissue obtained during surgery. There has been no additional surgical case since the last reporting. As of December 31, 2016, 44 underwent surgery and 43 were confirmed to have papillary thyroid cancer. One remaining case was confirmed to have “other thyroid cancer” according to the classification in the seventh revision of Japan’s unique thyroid cancer diagnostic guidelines. A specific diagnosis was not revealed, but it has been reported as a differentiated thyroid cancer that is not known to be related to radiation exposure and it is allegedly neither poorly differentiated thyroid cancer nor medullary cancer.

The third round screening or the second Full-Scale Screening has covered 87,217 or 25.9% of the survey population of 336,623. The primary examination results have been finalized in 71,083 or 81.5% of the participants, revealing 483 to require the confirmatory examination. Results of the confirmatory examination have been finalized in 64 of 143 (29.6%) that have been examined. FNAC was conducted in one person with a negative result: No cancer case has been diagnosed from the third round as of now.

Confusing issues
Conducted every 2 years up to age 20, the TUE transitions at age 25 to milestone screenings to be conducted every 5 years. Some residents are beginning to participate in the age 25 milestone screening, and if they have never participated in the TUE, their milestone screening results will be added to the second round screening results. Thus the number of the second round screening participants is expected to increase even though the screening period technically ended in March 2016.

However, the third round screening survey population excludes the age 25 milestone screening participants: their results will be tallied up separately.

Also in some cases, confirmatory examinations from the second and third rounds might be simultaneously ongoing, or there could be significant delays in conducting confirmatory examinations due to logistical issues such as the lack of manpower. A two-year screening period originally designed for subsequent rounds of the Full-Scale Screening is essentially spread over a longer time period, overlapping with the next round of screening. A precise interpretation of results from each round of screening might be nearly impossible.

A newly diagnosed case in the second round
In the second round, only 1 case was newly diagnosed by FNAC with suspicion of cancer. It is a female from Koriyama-City who was 17 years old at the time of the March 2011 disaster. Her first round screening result was A1.

Prior diagnostic status of the cases newly diagnosed with cancer in the second round
Of 69 total cases suspected or confirmed with cancer in the second round, 32 were A1, 31 were A2, and 5 were B in the first round. One remaining case never underwent the first round screening (no information such as age, sex or place or residence, is available regarding this case).

Thirty-two cases that were A1 in the first round, by definition, had no ultrasound findings of cysts or nodules, whereas 7 of 31 cases that were previously diagnosed as A2 had nodules with the remaining 24 being cysts. All 5 cases that were previously diagnosed as B were nodules, and at least 2 of them had undergone the confirmatory examination in the first round.

This means 56 (32 “A1” and 24 “A2 cysts”)of 69 cases had no nodules detected by ultrasound in the first round which could have developed into cancer. This is 81% of the second round cases suspected or confirmed with cancer. It has been speculated by some that these 56 cases were new onset since the first round, suggesting the cancer began to form in 2 to 3 years after the first round screening, conflicting with the common notion that thyroid cancer in general is slow growing.

Akira Ohtsuru, the head of the TUE, explained that even though some of the small nodules are very easy to detect by ultrasound, exceptions arise when 1) the border of the lesion is ambiguous, 2) the density of the lesion is so low that it blends into the normal tissue, or 3) the lesion resembles the normal tissue. Thus, it is not because the nodules newly formed since the first round screening, but because the nodules were simply not detected even though they were there, that cases which previously had no nodules are now being diagnosed with cancer. Ohtsuru said that when such previously undetected nodules become relatively large enough to become detectable by ultrasound, they might look as if they suddenly appeared. Ohtsuru added that nodules that have already been detected by ultrasound do not to appear to grow very rapidly in general.

This is a better, more legitimate explanation than the previous ones he offered that stated the nodules were present in the first round albeit invisible. However, 56 out of 69 cases seem like a lot to be explained by this.

An issue of the female to male ratio
The female to male ratio of cancer cases warrants a special attention. For thyroid cancer, the female to male ratio is nearly 1:1 in the very young, but it is known to increase with age and decrease with radiation exposure. (See below Slide 2 in this post for more information). In the second round, the female to male ratio has been ranging from 1.19:1 to 1.44:1 overall, but the FY2015 municipalities have consistently shown a higher number of males than females with the most recent female to male ratio of 0.7:1.

What Ohtsuru said about the the female to male ratio boils down to the following:

The female to male ratio for thyroid cancer is influenced by the reason for diagnosis and the age. When the confirmatory examination of the second round screening is completed, the data will be analyzed by adjusting for age and participation rates by sex. The female to male ratio in Japan’s cancer registry data, including all ages, is around 3:1, but it used to be bigger at 4:1 or 6:1 in the 1980’s and earlier. In Fukushima, the TUE was conducted in asymptomatic youth around puberty–a different condition than the cancer registry. Yet even in the cancer registry, the female to male ratio tends to be close to 1:1 up to the puberty. Autopsy data of occult thyroid cancer in individuals who died of causes other than thyroid cancer show the female to male ratio of 1:1 or smaller (more males) in adults. This fact indicates that thyroid cancer screening would yield the female to male ratio close to 1:1 even in adults. Thus, it is scientifically expected that thyroid cancer screening in general leads to a smaller female to male ratio.

He is claiming that thyroid cancer diagnosed by cancer screening before becoming symptomatic–as opposed to symptomatic thyroid cancer diagnosed clinically–is expected to show the female to male ratio near 1:1 or smaller, i.e., as many males are diagnosed as females, or more males are diagnosed than females.

To say the least, calling extrapolation from autopsy data to screening “scientific” seems a bit of a stretch. Furthermore, Ohtsuru’s claim does not add up scientifically. South Korea, where active screening increased the incidence of thyroid cancer, did not observe a smaller female to male ratio as shown in the table of thyroid cancer incidence by sex and age group compiled from Ahn et al. (2016). It is obvious the female incidence is much higher than the male incidence without actually calculating the ratio.

Thyroid cancer incidence by sex and age group per 100,000 
in the 16 administrative regions in Korea
 Compiled from Supplementary Tables 2 & 3 in Ahn et al. (2016) Thyroid Cancer Screening in South Korea Increases Detection of Papillary Cancers with No Impact on Other Subtypes or Thyroid Cancer Mortality (link)

Furthermore, Ohtsuru’s claim that the female to male ratio tends to be close to 1:1 up to the puberty in the cancer registry is not corroborated by the actual data. The table below was compiled from the National estimates of cancer incidence based on cancer registries. The number of thyroid cancer cases for each sex was listed side-by-side for each year and age group. Then a total from 2000 to 2012 was tallied for each sex and age group to obtain the female to male ratio, because the number of cases varies from year to year. Even without knowing exactly which age range Ohtsuru meant by “up to the puberty,” it is clear that the female to male ratio is not at all close to 1:1.

The number of thyroid cancer cases by sex and age group from 2000 to 2012
Compiled from the National estimates of cancer incidence based on cancer registries in Japan (link)

According to this study, the female to male ratio peaks at puberty and declines with age, as excerpted below:

The increased F:M ratio in thyroid cancer incidence does not remain static with age. Female predominance peaks at puberty. […] This pattern occurs as the thyroid cancer incidence begins to increase at an earlier age in females than in males, leading to a rise in the F:M ratio. The ratio starts to decline as the male incidence rate begins to increase and, concurrently, the rate of increase in female incidence rate slows down. The steady decrease in F:M ratio with age continues, and the peak male rate does not occur until between 65 and 69 years of age, compared with the earlier peak female rate between 45 and 49 years of age, just before the mean age of menopause at 50 years.

An issue of the participation rate
The primary examination participation rate of 70.9% in the second round screening is lower than 81.7% in the first round. Most notable is the participation rate of the oldest age group: 52.7% for ages 16-18 (age at exposure) in the first round plummeted to 25.7% for ages 18-22 (age at examination) in the second round. It is 6.6% for ages 18-24 (age at examination) for the ongoing third round so far.

Younger age groups in school have maintained pretty high participation rates thanks to the school-based screening. The older age group often leave the prefecture for college or jobs, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get them to participate, especially with their interests fading in their busy lives.

The status of the new third-party committee
The “international, third-party, neutral, scientific, up-to-date and evidence-based” expert committee proposed by Chairman Hokuto Hoshi at the last committee meeting is being discussed at the prefectural level in consultation with the central government. The prefectural official admitted that the plan was to establish an independent entity that will offer, from a neutral standpoint, latest knowledge of thyroid cancer needed by the Oversight Committee.

A committee member Tamami Umeda from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare elaborated on her vision of the third-party committee as an entity to review and organize the latest clinical and epidemiological knowledge and studies. It would be separate from the Thyroid Examination Evaluation Subcommittee that is intended to evaluate and analyze the status of the TUE, including the evaluation of radiation effects. (Note: In reality, the Thyroid Examination Evaluation Subcommittee has been far from being effective in analyzing the TUE data due to lack of information released by Fukushima Medical University on the premise of protecting personal clinical data).

Explaining that international organizations frequently separate a scientific review process from discussions relating to policy making in order to maintain neutrality, Umeda said she thought a similar process might be useful for the Fukushima Health Management Survey. This comment drew questions from committee members as well as the press about the status of the Oversight Committee itself: Is it a policy-making body? Is it not scientific enough?

It would make more sense to invite experts to join the Thyroid Examination Evaluation Subcommittee to incorporate knowledge gained from the latest research on thyroid cancer. Why it has to be an “international” committee is unclear other than to say that it was recommended by the Organizing Committee of 5th International Expert Symposium in Fukushima on Radiation and Health, including Shunichi Yamashita. A former chair to the Oversight Committee, Yamashita resigned from the position in March 2013 amid controversies surrounding “secret meetings.” Although no longer involved with the Oversight Committee, he has maintained ties with the Survey as Founding Senior Director of the Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey, the Office of International Cooperation for the Survey.

http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.fr/2017/02/fukushima-thyroid-examination-february.html

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Global action is needed, NOW, to defeat the out-of-control Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Over the past few weeks, the Japanese have attempted to send their Scorpion robot into the damaged containment vessel areas. These attempts have resulted in the rapid destruction of these specially designed radiation-detecting robots — but not before measurements were made… reliable measurements, that indicate radiation leaking at 530 seiverts per hour. Such readings were described as “unimaginable.” Why? Because human death is likely at just 10 seiverts per hour of radiation exposure.

This is all current news — yet our national media and federal government will not investigate it, talk about it, or help in developing a strategy to defeat the problem.

There is no greater clear and present danger to the future of humanity and other life on this earth than the out-of-control Fukushima disaster.

If we get to work on the problem, I am absolutely confident that our human ingenuity and resourcefulness will defeat it. We are, in our human potentiality, that good — if we will only do it.

Fukushima ocean plume

The Ongoing Fukushima Disaster http://pagosadailypost.com/2017/02/23/essay-the-ongoing-fukushima-disaster/ BY  · FEBRUARY 23, 2017

 On March 11, 2017, we will hit the 6th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan which featured the complete meltdown of three nuclear reactor cores due to these facilities being inundated by a 45-foot high tsunami wave caused by an earthquake. Sadly, the engineers and scientists trying to mitigate the ongoing damage have been unsuccessful at stopping the daily flow of radiation into the Pacific Ocean, which is simply one piece of the interconnected body of water I call the Earth Ocean.

The material of the melted cores, called corium, has sunk down into the earth below their shattered former containment vessels, and resides within the shallow water table below — which results in an ongoing flow of radioactive material pouring into the ocean. Apparently, there is no existing technological solution to this issue, and there are increasing measurements of radioactive material within the vast Pacific Ocean and all along the western coasts of the North and South American continents.

The Federal Government of the United States does not (publicly) monitor such radiation inflows, and therefore, any information about the contamination comes from various activities funded by crowd-source financing of various private and public-good organizations, etc.

This I find somewhat odd — in that the United States has, in recent days, deployed their radiation-sniffing jet to fly about over Europe in the hopes of identifying the source of highly abnormal radioactive particles of Iodine-131 that have been wafting about upon the winds since (apparently) early January 2017. At this moment, there is no explanation. So… we’ll deploy United States taxpayer resources to help track down the source of a European Iodine-131 leak — which, incidentally, has a half-life of about eight days — and will discuss the problem publicly … but we won’t (publicly) monitor our western coasts and air for an ongoing radiation catastrophe now six years old, emitting radioactive particles with half-lives of thousands of years. The Federal Government of the United States won’t even talk about it.

Is the idea (or attitude) then that since we have no ability to arrest or fix the unrelenting Fukushima poisoning of our planetary environment, that we will just not talk about or acknowledge it in a public way? Are we going to continue to buy the demonstrably false notion put forth by the U.S. government that the vast waters of the Pacific ocean will act to “dilute” the radioactive poison over time — when it is a scientific fact that radioactive particles are not “dilutable” and are, instead, cumulative?

Are we going to continue to disassociate the massive die-offs and poisoning of ocean life from the obvious source, the cumulative effects of Fukushima radiation? Are we going to continue to enjoy our seafood because the Federal Government says that the radioactive levels within it are “within safe limits”? Are we going to continue to label people like myself (of which there are many) as “conspiracy theorists” and uneducated alarmists who have been expressing concern over the Fukushima catastrophe since it occurred — people like me who know from objective observed and scientific fact that all is not well with what is going on (or not going on) at Fukushima?

Over the past few weeks, the Japanese have attempted to send their Scorpion robot into the damaged containment vessel areas. These attempts have resulted in the rapid destruction of these specially designed radiation-detecting robots — but not before measurements were made… reliable measurements, that indicate radiation leaking at 530 seiverts per hour. Such readings were described as “unimaginable.” Why? Because human death is likely at just 10 seiverts per hour of radiation exposure.

This is all current news — yet our national media and federal government will not investigate it, talk about it, or help in developing a strategy to defeat the problem. I would submit that the ongoing Fukushima environmental catastrophe is — by far — the most urgent danger to humanity that we face. This is not a localized Japanese problem — it is a world-wide environmental emergency that is getting worse every day.

If humanity does not have the current technology to defeat this problem, then we need to get our best and brightest minds together from across the world and develop technology to defeat it, immediately. It is absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible for the world to simply ignore what it going on — indeed, it is eventually suicidal. If President Trump does not begin to openly talk about the ongoing global emergency threat of Fukushima and advocate for a solution, then I, for one, will publicly part ways with him — on this issue alone.

There is no greater clear and present danger to the future of humanity and other life on this earth than the out-of-control Fukushima disaster. All other issues of debate and controversy are small potatoes in comparison. President Trump needs to rally support for an effective response on this—indeed, the sheer gravity of the destruction being done to the world provides a superb opportunity to bring together a truly unified global response to an issue that threatens humanity. Japan does not have the resources or technological ability to solve this problem by itself — and no individual nation does, or could. Just as if humanity found itself mortally in danger from a source beyond the Earth and would therefore unify to defeat it, so too must it view the Fukushima situation as a mortal danger to humanity from within.

If we get to work on the problem, I am absolutely confident that our human ingenuity and resourcefulness will defeat it. We are, in our human potentiality, that good — if we will only do it.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Agency to probe reasons behind underpricing of Fukushima items

eat-safe

Prices of agricultural products and foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture declined after the nuclear plant accident in March 2011, and almost six years later, have yet to recover to pre-disaster levels.

Now the government is seeking to ascertain why these items are still being sold at lower prices, suspecting that wholesalers are deliberately underpricing products being shipped from the prefecture.

The Reconstruction Agency will survey wholesalers’ purchase prices of Fukushima-made food products, according to sources.

The agency believes crops and other items grown in the prefecture are being undersold because of the negative effects of groundless rumors stemming from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The latest decision is aimed at preventing the spread of those rumors.

The agency’s plan is expected to be included in a draft revision of the Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, to be submitted during the current Diet session.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the nuclear accident, Fukushima-made foodstuffs have been shipped only after their radioactivity levels are confirmed to be below safety standards.

The levels for those agricultural and other products typically fall below detectable levels, meaning most foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture are completely safe to eat.

Despite the fact, trading prices of rice and beef produced in the prefecture are still nearly 10 percent lower than national averages, according to the agency.

The agency suspects that the prices have not recovered to their pre-disaster levels not only because consumers tend to avoid Fukushima-made articles, but also because they are “purchased at unreasonably low rates” at the time of shipping.

When prices to wholesalers of food products grown in the prefecture are lower than pre-disaster rates, farmers can be compensated for the difference by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Some wholesalers may knock down the price, misusing the compensation system,” said a source at the Reconstruction Agency.

To prevent the abuse of the compensation system, the special measures law will be amended to include a plan to conduct “a survey to make clear why they (Fukushima-made products) are suffering from sluggish sales.”

Based on the revised law, the agency will survey the prices farmers are selling their crops for to wholesalers, how much consumers are paying for the agricultural products and other trading prices of foodstuffs from Fukushima Prefecture.

After identifying the reason for the lower prices, the agency will offer instructions and advice to wholesalers and other related parties.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702150001.html

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February 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Oh dear! Transatomic Power has been making false claims about Generation IV nuclear reactors

text-cat-questionIt’s interesting the way that, for dubious nuclear enterprises, they like to put a young woman at the top. Is this to make the nuclear image look young and trendy? Or is it so they she can cop the flak when it all goes wrong?

Below – Leslie Dewan – CEO of Transatomic Power

dewan-leslie-poisoned-chaliceNuclear Energy Startup Transatomic Backtracks on Key Promises The company, backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, revised inflated assertions about its advanced reactor design after growing concerns prompted an MIT review. MIT Technology Review by James Temple  February 24, 2017 Nuclear energy startup Transatomic Power has backed away from bold claims for its advanced reactor technology after an informal review by MIT professors highlighted serious errors in the company’s calculations, MIT Technology Review has learned.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, founded in 2011 by a pair of MIT students in the Nuclear Science & Engineering department, asserted that its molten salt reactor design could run on spent nuclear fuel from conventional reactors and generate energy far more efficiently than them. In a white paper published in March 2014, the company proclaimed its reactor “can generate up to 75 times more electricity per ton of mined uranium than a light-water reactor.”

Those lofty claims helped it raise millions in venture capital, secure a series of glowing media profiles (including in this publication), and draw a rock-star lineup of technical advisors. But in a paper on its site dated November 2016, the company downgraded “75 times” to “more than twice.” In addition, it now specifies that the design “does not reduce existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel,” or use them as its fuel source. The promise of recycling nuclear waste, which poses tricky storage and proliferation challenges, was a key initial promise of the company that captured considerable attention.

“In early 2016, we realized there was a problem with our initial analysis and started working to correct the error,” cofounder Leslie Dewan said in an e-mail response to an inquiry from MIT Technology Review.

The dramatic revisions followed an analysis in late 2015 by Kord Smith, a nuclear science and engineering professor at MIT and an expert in the physics of nuclear reactors.

At that point, there were growing doubts in the field about the company’s claims and at least some worries that any inflated claims could tarnish the reputation of MIT’s nuclear department, which has been closely associated with the company. Transatomic also has a three-year research agreement with the department, according to earlier press releases.

In reviewing the company’s white paper, Smith noticed immediate red flags. He relayed his concerns to his department head and the company, and subsequently conducted an informal review with two other professors.

“I said this is obviously incorrect based on basic physics,” Smith says. He asked the company to run a test, which ended up confirming that “their claims were completely untrue,” Smith says.

He notes that promising to increase the reactor’s fuel efficiency by 75 times is the rough equivalent of saying that, in a single step, you’d developed a car that could get 2,500 miles per gallon.

Ultimately, the company redid its analysis, and produced and posted a new white paper………

The company has raised at least $4.5 million from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Acadia Woods Partners, and Daniel Aegerter of Armada Investment AG. Venture capital veteran Ray Rothrock serves as chairman of the company.

Founders Fund didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry……https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603731/nuclear-energy-startup-transatomic-backtracks-on-key-promises/

February 25, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, USA, technology, Reference | Leave a comment

Bankruptcy beckons for Toshiba because of its nuclear investment failures

toshiba-and-nukeToshiba May Go Bankrupt as Result of Nuclear Investments, The Green Optimistic

The takeover of Webster & Stone by by Toshiba‘s subsidiary Westinghouse may go down in history as one of the worst investments ever made, and it all centers around nuclear power.

Ultimately Toshiba is left holding the bag for a huge construction backlog of nuclear power plants, 46 at present count, and none of them may ever be completed.

On top of the issues surrounding the construction of the nuclear plants, it seems as though senior management at Toshiba has been cooking the books. Their former auditing firm Ernst and Young was recently fined for helping them record more than 300 million dollars in fictitious profits.

A recent Toshiba earnings call was scuttled because their current auditor wouldn’t sign off on the necessary documents, but the unofficial figure for their losses so far is in excess of 6 billion dollars.

What Happened? The details of this financial catastrophe are nuanced, but they all revolve around the difficulty that new nuclear power projects are facing………

Toshiba isn’t alone in the land of nuclear woe. …… https://www.greenoptimistic.com/toshiba-bankrupt-nuclear-20170223/#.WLC9etKGPGg

February 25, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Squabble in West Texas over stranded nuclear wastes

strandedFlag-USAIn West Texas, spent fuel storage seeks a foothold, Edward Klump, E&E News reporter , Energywire: Friday, February 24, 2017 Waste Control Specialists LLC operates a facility licensed to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas. The company is in the process of seeking a license for an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. …….

February 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Baltic states may block electricity from Belarus’s unfinished Astravets nuclear plant

text-NoBelarusian Nuke Plant Could Face Baltic Blockade http://www.tol.org/client/article/26725-nuclear-belarus-astravets-latvia-lithuania.html Lithuania seeks allies for plan to stop electricity generated by plant from entering European power market.  24 February 2017

The three Baltic states may be close to agreement on blocking electricity from Belarus’s unfinished Astravets nuclear plant from crossing their borders.

Lithuania has decided to prevent electricity from the plant from entering its market, and Estonia supports the policy, the Baltic Course reports.

Lithuania has been the fiercest opponent of the plant, which is being built at a site only 50 kilometers from Vilnius, and has been unhappy with Latvia’s less stringent approach.  Riga’s stance seems to have hardened, after its economy minister, Arvils Aseradens, met with Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas.

According to Vaiciunas, his counterpart agreed to evaluate the technical and economic consequences of the proposed ban on Astravets-generated electricity, LSM reports. So far Latvia has only insisted the highest security standards be implemented at the plant, which is scheduled to go online in 2019.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Belarus, EUROPE, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Florida Supreme Court rejects nuclear expansion

judge-1http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/business/article134769964.html The Associated Press TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 24 Feb 17  The Florida Supreme Court is upholding a lower court ruling that ordered a massive nuclear plant expansion to be redone to meet environmental and other concerns.

Justices in a brief-one page order on Friday rejected an appeal filed by Florida Power & Light.

Last year, the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami reversed a 2014 decision by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet to approve construction of two nuclear reactors by FPL at its Turkey Point plant near Homestead. The project, costing up to $18 billion, would add about 2,200 megawatts of electric power or enough to supply 750,000 homes.

A three-judge panel ruled the governor and Cabinet failed to account for environmental regulations meant to protect the Everglades and endangered birds that make their home in the wetlands.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Court case to save South Africa from nuclear-industry caused bankruptcy

legal actionflag-S.AfricaNuclear Deal: Case to stop SA from bankrupting itself begins https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-02-22-nuclear-deal-case-to-stop-sa-from-bankrupting-itself-begins/#.WK9qo9KGPGg REBECCA DAVIS SOUTH AFRICA 22 FEB 2017

While Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was throwing around some big figures in Parliament on Wednesday, an even bigger one was looming over the Western Cape High Court: R1-trillion, the estimated cost of South Africa’s nuclear deal with Russia. The legal challenge mounted by two environmental NGOs to the nuclear deal hit the court this week, with an accompanying bevy of protesters. It has been termed one of the most significant state capture court cases South Africa has yet seen. By REBECCA DAVIS.

“No nukes, no bankrupting SA, no enriching Zuma and Co,” read one sign. “Nuclear costs SA equivalent of 1.2-billion buses!” proclaimed another. On a day when South Africa’s economy was already in the spotlight, the small crowd assembled outside the Western Cape High Court had one particular aspect of its future in mind. “Phantsi secret nuclear deal phantsi!” the protesters chanted.

In the legal ring: two NGOs, Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), squaring up against Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s pursuit of 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power. One media outlet referred to it as a “David vs Goliath battle”. That’s accurate in the sense that the two NGOs behind the legal battle are modestly resourced. But when David took on Goliath, he didn’t have one of the most lethal advocates in the country leading his legal team.

Acting for the NGOs is David Unterhalter, who has appeared in countless of South Africa’s most high-profile legal matters – including representing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Marikana Commission. In this case, David is armed and dangerous.

The court challenge will not deal with the question of whether or not nuclear power is the right energy source to meet the country’s needs. Opening the arguments for the applicants on Wednesday, Unterhalter said that his team would show that the inter-governmental nuclear agreement with Russia “fails to comply with what is required constitutionally”.

While the government contends that this kind of international agreement is an instance of “executive action”, and thus beyond the purview of review, the applicants maintain that it is “a fairly straightforward case of administrative action” which should have gone before Parliament for resolution. While the Russian agreement was tabled in Parliament, it was not subject to a debate and a resolution of Parliament, despite the state law adviser’s counsel to Minister Joemat-Pettersson that this was required.

Lawyer Adrian Pole subsequently told journalists that they will also argue that the public should have been granted more of a voice in discussions about South Africa’s energy future.

This point was emphasised by the protesters outside court. Criticising the government for making use of “flawed” processes and failing to carry out public hearings, Earthlife Africa’s Makoma Lekalakala described the nuclear process as “shrouded in secrecy”.

Lekalakala said: “This case was filed in the public interest to hold those in government accountable and prevent secret deals leading to corruption.” She also hit out at the possible environmental damage of a large-scale nuclear programme. South Africa is currently dependent on a fossil fuel economy, Lekalakala said. “With nuclear it becomes much worse – it’s not just a question of pollution, but also of [how to dispose of nuclear] waste.”

South Korean activist Kim Yong-Bock was outside court on Wednesday in solidarity with South African protesters – and bearing an urgent message focusing on nuclear safety. Kim said that the local court case was similar to the ongoing debate in Japan about the constitutionality of nuclear plants.

“The security of life in your country is supposed to be protected by your Constitution,” Kim said, warning that after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, wrangling continues as to the liability of the Tokyo Electric Power Company. To the nuclear industry, Kim suggested, “it doesn’t really matter if you die or not”.

Looking around at the South Africans gathered outside the court, Kim said: “You are potential victims.”

The issue of the prohibitive cost of the nuclear build was also prominent among the protesters’ concerns. “There are many ways of providing the electricity we need now and in the future without spending R1-trillion or more,” SACSEI’s Ven Tsondru said. Both sun and wind, she suggested, could generate electricity quicker and cheaper than nuclear energy.

Tsondru explained that the court case’s major function was to force government to share both the reasoning behind, and financial details of, the nuclear deal.

The legal proceedings have already forced the government’s hand in revealing certain aspects of the previously secretive nuclear deal. The original court application was filed in October 2015. From papers revealed to the applicants in 2016, the NGOs said that it appeared that despite denials from the governments of both Russia and South Africa, a binding commitment to buy a fleet of nuclear reactors from Russia had already been signed.

On Wednesday morning, protesters were keeping one eye on Parliament, where Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was due to deliver his Budget speech that afternoon. Ears would be pricked for reference to the nuclear deal, which President Jacob Zuma did not mention in his State of the Nation Address a fortnight ago.

Earthlife Africa’s Lekalakala told the small crowd outside the Western Cape High Court that they expected the Finance Minister to announce in the Budget that afternoon that “we cannot go ahead with nuclear now”. If he were to give endorsement to the nuclear deal, she said, he would be “undermining you and me”.

As it turned out, Minister Gordhan’s Budget did not mention the nuclear deal at all – unless you count a veiled reference to protecting future generations from today’s debt.

To SAFCEI’S Liz McDaid, this was a positive sign.

“We applaud the Minister of Finance for acting in the public interest and not wasting money on the nuclear deal,” McDaid told the Daily Maverick. “We will continue to monitor government with respect to the nuclear deal. If we are successful with our court case, the decision to procure nuclear will be overturned.”

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Trump’s associates and USA conservatives to wage war on environmentalists

Conservatives predict ‘real war’ with environmentalists http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060050477  Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter   Greenwire: Thursday, February 23, 2017 People who question the science of climate change today told conservative activists they were looking forward to using their bigger platform during the Trump administration to roll back U.S. EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a panel of prominent global warming skeptics said one of their top targets was the Obama administration’s 2009 endangerment finding, the basis for EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

“It’s going to be a real war with environmentalists, no question about that,” said Steve Milloy, who says he served on President Trump’s EPA transition but was not listed on the administration’s official landing team for the agency. “There’s going to be a lot of litigation. But we’re going to move EPA in the right direction.”

Milloy said “nothing’s made me prouder than the fact that Donald Trump is now president” because Republicans as a whole had been lukewarm in their support of climate skeptics prior to Trump, who once called climate change a Chinese hoax.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute sponsored the panel this morning in one of the side ballrooms at CPAC, happening outside Washington. Appearing on the panel with Milloy were James Delingpole and Tony Heller. All three have questioned whether human-caused climate change is occurring.

Delingpole, an executive editor at the Breitbart News Network, likened environmentalism to a religion and recycling advocates to a “cult.”  The environmental movement, he told the conservative audience, was full of “control freaks” looking for a scientific justification “to tax us, to regulate us, to control our lives.”

Heller, who also goes by the pseudonym Steven Goddard, accused the government of faking statistics to make people believe in “absurd” and “fake news” climate change.

He claimed that conservatives who don’t believe in climate change have been treated like women who were accused of being witches in the 1600s. “Right now, conservatives get blamed for every bad weather event and for climate change, right. It’s our fault,” he said. “But hundreds of years ago, it was witches who were blamed for it.”

‘Scumbags’

The treatment of people who don’t believe in man-made warming is about to change during the Trump administration, Delingpole said. “The people who portray people like us as selfish, greedy, nature-hating scumbags — no. They are the scumbags. We are the good guys,” Delingpole said. “Thank goodness, thanks to Donald Trump, the tide’s turned, and we are about to witness that.”

Along with questioning federal climate change science, panelists also said they were skeptical of EPA research on everything from air pollution to pesticides.  Milloy, who led a crusade against EPA’s risk assessment of secondhand smoke, said he hoped the Trump administration would completely end scientific research at the agency, accusing it of paying for “the science it wants.”

An agency “can’t be responsible for producing science and then regulating” based on that science, Milloy said.Being selected to EPA’s transition team was “a dream come true after fighting EPA for 25 years,” he said.

Conservatives are starting to see the fruits of the advice of that transition team, beginning with the confirmation of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, he said.

Under the Trump administration, Milloy said, warming skeptics would get to participate in debates over killing President Obama’s key climate policies, including the endangerment finding, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2014.

“The endangerment finding needs to be repealed,” he said. “If it’s not, then President Trump is going to be forced to issue his own climate policy.”

John Walke, clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, slammed the panel in a series of tweets.

“This is alt-reality, folks,” he said.

Twitter: @apeterka Email: areilly@eenews.net

February 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Radiation ‘sniffer plane’ over Europe

questionA radiation ‘sniffer plane’ is reportedly searching for the source of a cloud of nuclear isotopes floating across Europe, news.com.au FEBRUARY 23, 2017 A CLOUD of radioactive particles is floating across Europe — and no one knows where it came from.  First detected in mid-January, spikes in the level of a radioactive isotope called Iodine-131, have been recorded all the way from Norway to Spain.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation | Leave a comment

Wealthy Americans building ‘luxury’ underground nuclear bunkers

Nuclear shelter goes up market as the US gets nervous, http://www.afr.com/news/policy/defence/nuclear-shelter-goes-up-market-as-the-us-gets-nervous-20170219-gugigy Australian  Financial Review, 24 Feb 17 by Ben Rowen
bunker

On July 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American people of a need “new to our shores” for emergency preparedness, including fallout shelters. The bunkers of that era – brutalist, cement, with foldout beds and stockpiled food – were designed to protect families in the event that the Cold War turned hot.

It never did, but fears of cataclysm – nuclear and otherwise – are back. So are shelters, with a twist. Growing numbers of “preppers” hope to ride out various doomsday scenarios in luxury.

Rising S Bunkers, one of several companies that specialise in high-end shelters – its presidential model includes a gym, a workshop, a rec room, a greenhouse, and a car depot – says sales of its $US500,000-plus ($650,000) units increased 700 per cent last year. (This compares with a more modest 150 per cent increase across other Rising S units.) Bunker companies won’t disclose customers’ names, but Gary Lynch, Rising S’s chief executive, told me his clients include Hollywood actors and “highly recognisable sports stars”. Other luxury shelters are marketed to businesspeople, from bankers to Bill Gates, who is rumoured to have bunkers beneath his houses in Washington State and California.

Whereas Cold War shelters, by design, were near the home and easy to get to, a handful of bunker companies are building entire survival communities in remote locations. Some of them share literal foundations with Cold War buildings: One project, Vivos XPoint, involves refurbishing 575 munitions-storage bunkers in South Dakota; Vivos Europa One, in Germany, is a Soviet armoury turned luxury community with a subterranean swimming pool.

By contrast, Trident Lakes, a 700-acre, $US330 million development in Ector, Texas, an hour and a half north of Dallas, is being built from scratch. Marketed as a “5-star playground, equipped with defcon 1 preparedness”, it is the project of a group of investors who incorporated as Vintuary Holdings. According to James O’Connor, the CEO, Trident Lakes “is designed for enjoyment like any other resort”. (This pitch is rather different from its Cold War-era counterparts: A 1963 bunker advertisement from the Kelsey-Hayes company shows a family tucked under its home, with just rocking chairs for comfort.)

In some regards, the plans for Trident Lakes do resemble those for a resort.Amenities will include a hotel, an athletic centre, a golf course, and polo fields. The community is slated to have 600 condominiums, ranging in price from $US500,000 to $US1.5 million, each with a waterfront view (to which end, three lakes and 10 beaches will be carved out of farmland). Other features are more unusual: 90 per cent of each unit will be underground, armed security personnel will guard a wall surrounding the community, and there will be helipads for coming and going.

As of January, only one part of the project was under way: a 60-foot statue that will feature Poseidon, amid what is supposed to be a 55,000-square-foot fountain. By June, Vintuary plans to unveil the development’s entrance and the shells of six bunkers. If all goes according to schedule, the first units will be finished next year.

Jeff Schlegelmilch, the deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told me that the luxury-bunker trend is “not just a couple of fringe groups; there is real money behind it—hundreds of millions of dollars”. But why are wealthy people buying?

Some customers appear to be motivated by old anxieties, recently revived – the threat of nuclear war, or a national-debt default that leads to unrest. Others have newer fears: climate change, pandemics, terrorism, far-left and far-right extremism. The presidential election has brought new faces into the fold, namely liberals (who also contributed to a record number of background checks – an indicator of gun purchases – on Black Friday). “Typically our sales are going to conservatives, but now liberals are purchasing,” says Lynch, the Rising S CEO.

Violence ‘unfortunate trend’

Rob Kaneiss, Trident Lakes’ chief security officer and a former Navy seal, told me that violence “seems to be the unfortunate trend in the US”. He believes the community’s location will prove to be ideal under the circumstances. “Ector offers … a very rural area,” he said, “so the likelihood of having risks like that, in the absence of specific targeting, is extremely low.”

In case things do go south, Trident Lakes will offer “Navy seal Experience” self-defence training, and a vault for family DNA. The hope is that, down the line, scientists could use genetic material to replicate residents who were lost to catastrophe, thereby ensuring “family sustainability”. Where these scientists might come from isn’t clear, but for a group selling cataclysm, the gesture seems an oddly hopeful bet on the future.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Cuomo’s costly nuclear plant bailout – financially and ethically wrong

taxpayer-bailout-exelonStop Cuomo’s costly nuclear plant bailout http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/stop-cuomo-costly-nuclear-plant-bailout-article-1.2980738 BY  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS  Friday, February 24, 2017, New Yorkers shouldn’t have to pay for energy they will never use. Which is why Gov. Cuomo should be consistent and close, along with Indian Point, three other outdated nuclear power plants near Rochester and Oswego.

Instead, he is taking $7.6 billion from New York ratepayers and giving it to a hugely profitable, Illinois-based energy company to keep the three plants open.

The governor says he needs the plants operational in order to meet his renewable energy goals, but that’s false. New York can meet its goals on time with wind, solar and hydroelectric power, a Stanford University study recently found. Cuomo should get on the same page as California and get serious about replacing nuclear power with safe, affordable and clean energy. It can be done.

A bailout of upstate nuclear power plants is going to be the largest transfer of wealth from government to a single corporation in New York’s history, and it runs counter to what energy experts are telling us about job growth potential from real renewables.

Most importantly, it flies in the face of pure common sense.

Exelon is the lucky recipient of our money. A Fortune 100 company with annual revenues over $34 billion, it spent $430,000 on lobbying in New York in the past two years, including to obtain subsidies for its plants under the governor’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires half of the state’s eletricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2030.

Yet to prop up the plants, Cuomo has essentially levied a new tax that increases everyone’s utility bills, including local governments. For example, the City of New York will pay $208 million more over 12 years. The cities of Buffalo and Yonkers will pay over $3 million each.

Anyone who pays for electricity will be on the hook: residents, businesses, municipalities, hospitals, schools. Con Ed residential customers will see their bills go up by $700 million, Long Island by $500 million and Niagara Mohawk consumers by $465 million.

It all goes to Exelon.

It’s odd that Cuomo would plow money into these aging upstate plants at the very same time he’s moving to shutter the Indian Point plant near New York City out of concern for safety. Surely the governor is not saying the dangers posed to people and property upstate are less real than those downstate.

Here are five other reasons why the governor has this wrong.

One, nearly 800,000 New Yorkers are behind on their electric bills already. That number will surely increase when Exelon gets more of on our hard-earned money.

Two, it’s geographically skewed. The formula would force New York City, Long Island and some Westchester County customers to pay 60% of costs while using very little of the power generated upstate.

Three, only the governor, Public Service Commission and Exelon have seen this bailout “contract” with Exelon. Yet the decision is proceeding despite pleas from New Yorkers for public hearings and numerous attempts to obtain the document through the Freedom of Information Law.

Four, in New York, clean energy already provides more jobs than the nuclear industry by orders of magnitude — with the potential for astromical future growth. Statewide, estimates range from 85,000 to 180,000 jobs in clean energy, such as solar, wind, energy retrofits, heat pumps and other efficiencies, compared to 3,250 jobs at Indian Point and the other three nuclear plants combined.

Last — hardest to quantify but most important, at least to me — is the matter of moral leadership. Pope Francis has written on the state’s responsibility to promote the common good through dialogue and consensus-building. During his address to the U.S. Congress last year, he quoted from his encyclical “Laudato Si,” about care for the Earth, our common home: “ ‘We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology’; ‘to devise intelligent ways of . . . developing and limiting our power’; and to put technology ‘at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral.’ ”

Supporting aging nuclear plants won’t get us to the future he envisions. Only wholeheartedly embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy will.

Brisotti is pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal parish in Wyandanch, L.I.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Minister of Finance silent about nuclear energy

flag-S.AfricaWhy Gordhan’s silence on nuclear was golden’ The Minister effectively signaled that there is no need to react to exaggerated energy crisis talk coming from the pro-nuclear lobby’  Business Day, 24 FEBRUARY 2017 – 08:50 AM HARTMUT WINKLER South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan said very little about the energy sector in his recent budget speech. The word “energy” came up only once compared with 2016, when it was used five times. Even more notable is that he didn’t mention nuclear energy – a source of major contention – at all.

The explicit statements relating to energy were restricted to an increase in the fuel levy and affirmation that the independent power producer programme would continue with the development of further renewable and gas power generation.

This avoidance might at first glance seem odd given the heated controversies around power shortages as well as the government’s plans to invest in unaffordable nuclear power plants.

But there’s a great deal to take heart from. By downplaying the energy sector in his speech, the Minister effectively signaled that there is no need to react to exaggerated energy crisis talk coming from the pro-nuclear lobby. Instead, he is showing faith in the existing modest medium term energy budget, and an unwillingness to be diverted onto a reckless financial course…….

The significance of the Minister’s silence
Gordhan’s budget signalled that he is intent on standing firm against any political pressure by refusing to significantly deviate from the National Treasury’s long term expenditure plan.

Contrary to what his detractors would have hoped for, he did not make appreciably higher allocations to the nuclear sector. Instead he:

– Committed to the continuation of the independent power producer driven renewable energy programme. This has been opposed by the pro-nuclear Eskom;…….

Gordhan went on to say: “By acting now to stabilise debt … future generations will not pay … 20 or 30 years from now.”

This affirms the frequently stated view that the decision to embark on a massive nuclear build could only be financed through astronomical loans that will severely burden the nation for decades.

Gordhan has stood firm. But one question remains: will his stand lead to his dismissal and replacement with a stooge leading inevitably to a crash of the country’s currency, open warfare inside the ruling party and public protest? https://www.businesslive.co.za/rdm/politics/2017-02-24-why-gordhans-silence-on-nuclear-was-golden/

February 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment