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New report: global nuclear industry’s future not looking good

A status report released Thursday by independent consultants makes no bones about – not only the health risks associated with nuclear energy, but the economic impracticality of this kind of energy production as a whole. You don’t have to get very far into the report to find that facilities peaked in their output a decade ago, and have been in decline ever since

 an increasingly redundant and dangerous industry.

radiation-sign-sadThe diminishing glow of nuclear energy Greenpeace International  by Arin de Hoog – July 15, 2013 In France, Greenpeace activists got past security and climbed reactor structures at the Tricastin nuclear power plant. They unfurled a banner which read: ACCIDENT NUCLÉAIRE AU TRICASTIN FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE : PRÉSIDENT DE LA CATASTROPHE? (Nuclear Accident: François Hollande The President Of The Disaster?). Earlier this morning, other activists projected a crack onto the superstructure of the plant illustrating that French President, Hollande, needs to shut down 20 nuclear reactors in the country by 2020 in keeping with his promise to cut nuclear power from three-quarters to half by 2025.

The projection of the crack, by the way, is not foreshadowing an eminent condition. Cracks have been found in the reactor vessels of several plants in France, and throughout the world. Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

30 arrested after break-in to France’s Tricastin nuclear power plant

handcuffedflag-franceGreenpeace members arrested after France nuclear break-in CBC News 16 July 13, Intrusion raises questions about the security of France’s 19 nuclear power plants  Around 30 Greenpeace activists were arrested on Monday after breaking into an EDF nuclear power plant in southern France, saying they wanted to expose security flaws and demanding its closure…… The action echoed tensions between the Socialist government and ecologists, who accuse Hollande of not doing enough to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power and increase the use of renewable sources of energy.Greenpeace activists occupied this French nuclear power plant site before dawn Monday, a media stunt deeply embarrassing to a government intent on demonstrating that France’s reliance on nuclear power is safe. (Micha Patault/Greenpeace/AP)

Hollande sacked his energy and environment minister for publicly criticizing cuts to her budget earlier this month.

The president has pledged to cut the share of nuclear energy in the country’s electricity mix to 50 per cent from 75 per cent by 2025. He has also said he wants to close the country’s oldest plant at Fessenheim, near the German border, by 2017.

Greenpeace said to honour his promise, Hollande would have to close at least 10 reactors by 2017 and 20 by 2020. The campaign group said this ought to include Tricastin, which was built more than 30 years ago.

The dawn raid came less than a week after six female Greenpeace activists climbed London’s Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, in protest over plans by oil producer Royal Dutch Shell to carry out drilling in the Arctic circle.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Financial disaster of USEC threatens viability of USA nuclear industry

financial-disaster-1USEC’s flirtation with a non-nuclear Apocalypse has profound implications for the safe completion of power-down at Paducah, for the long-term cleanup of the contaminated sites that USEC will leave behind, for the well-being of a region that came to depend on the company’s draw of unproductive federal spending, and for the viability of the U.S. nuclear industry as a whole.

Uranium Titan Tumbles  EcoWatch July 12, 2013  By Geoffrey Sea High drama hits the world of the former U.S. Enrichment Corporation as a shareholder rebellion drubs the company stock price, restructuring and bankruptcy rumors swirl, safety issues delay USEC’s departure from Kentucky, a “left-right” anti-USEC coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations emerges and charges of USEC’s direct involvement in illegality proliferate.

USEC used to be a world giant in the supply of nuclear fuel. Once wielding monopoly power over the domestic supply and international pricing of enriched uranium, its motto touts “A Global Energy Company,” even as USEC struggles with the expense of closing its last production facility in the non-metropolis of Paducah, Kentucky. (Metropolis is over the river in Illinois.)

But in a spectacular sell-off signaling bizarre irregularities in the way the company has been managed and subsidized, USEC Inc.’s stock price has tumbled in a pattern known to market analysts as a “falling knife.” Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s malformed vegetables- is radiation the cause?

see-this.wayFukushima Vegetables Have Bizarre Tumor-Like Growths And Deformities: Is Nuclear Meltdown To Blame For Freaky Produce? [PHOTOS] International Science Times, By Philip Ross on July 15, 2013 Photos of what look like malformed vegetables from Fukushima, Japan, have surfaced on Imgur.


Thestrange produce have deformities, bumps and lumps all over them, and look like mutant cabbage patch kids beamed to Earth after having been harvested on an alien planet…… This isn’t the first time the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster has sparked fears that radiation was causing deformities in nature. In August 2012, researchers in Japan discovered evidence of mutant butterflies.

IScience Times reported that researchers collected 144 specimens of the pale grass blue butterfly, a common species in Japan, two months after the disaster. They found that 12 percent of the butterflies showed signs of mutation and abnormalities, including antennae disfigurement, small wings and a change in color patterns……To see more photos of the Fukushima vegetables, click here.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2013, Japan | 1 Comment

Let’s vote on uranium mining, say Nunavut hunters

ballot-boxSmNunavut hunters’ organization calls for uranium referendum Baker Lake HTO critical of recent consultations with Areva Resources Jul 15, 2013  

The chair of the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization said it’s time for a Nunavut-wide referendum on uranium mining. Hugh Ikoe said a referendum is the only way to determine how people in the community feel.

“We really need to have a system where we can try and find out just exactly how all people of Nunavut really feel about uranium mining,” said Ikoe.

areva-medusa1In a letter to the Nunavut Impact Review Board, Ikoe said recent consultations in Baker Lake may have given the wrong impression of community support for Areva Resources’ proposed Kiggavik uranium mine. He said Areva Resources was allowed to dominate the meetings.

Ikoe said they should be allowed to ask questions of the regulatory agencies and other interveners without the mining company present. He said that would have resulted in a much more critical discussion of the proposed mine. He said community members were told to ask Areva questions, but he said that’s not an adequate way to get at the truth.

“I think most everybody knew that regardless of what kinds of questions you ask any mining company, they’re not going to give you a negative answer and say, ‘oh, it’s going to be bad for the wildlife, environment or anything else for that matter’. They will always give you a positive answer.”

Ikoe said many residents of Baker Lake are still concerned about uranium mining in the area. He said many people feel they’ve been ‘consulted to death’ on this topic, and they’re not sure their concerns have been heard. He said many feel the mine will go ahead no matter what they say.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | politics | Leave a comment

Cost overruns racing away at Monticello nuclear plant

nukes-hungryMonticello nuclear plant repairs surge $267 million over budget by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune July 15, 2013   The bill for upgrades to Monticello nuclear plant is expected to grow even more, which may affect utility’s rate hike request.MONTICELLO, MINN. – A major upgrade to Minnesota’s oldest nuclear power plant is finally finished — and way over budget.

Xcel Energy expects to restart its Monticello Nuclear Power Plant this week after a four-month shutdown that allowed workers to replace aging pumps and other equipment to keep the 43-year-old reactor running another two decades and to boost electric output by 12 percent.

But the cost of the work surged $267 million, or 83 percent, over its 2008 budget of $320 million. The Minneapolis-based electric and gas utility says the final costs will be even higher, but hasn’t publicly disclosed the amount.n the meantime, Xcel’s 1.2 million electric customers in Minnesota are being asked to pay for the cost overruns. This sort of nuclear-related expense is one of the major drivers behind Xcel’s requested rate hike that an administrative judge recently recommendedslashing to 4.7 percent. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will decide, probably this fall, how much more ratepayers will pay.

Utility officials declined to answer questions about the cost overruns, ……..

Just how much customers will have to bear remains unclear.

That’s partly because not all of the cost overruns have been disclosed. Under a state law, Xcel has classified its latest cost-overrun estimate as a “trade secret.” The estimate has been disclosed to regulators, however, and the Star Tribune last week petitioned to have it made public, but the PUC has not yet acted…….

July 16, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

USA scandal of Uranium Center of Excellence taxpayer ripoff

nuke-greenwashThe “excellence” of this facility was that the radioactive garbage was green-washed as “recyclable,” and Ohio voters were also duped by the promise that it would bring hundreds of jobs, when the final tally was only two full-time inventory managers. I suppose that if spent fuel storage had been added, it would have been called the Center for Real Awesomeness with Plutonium.

Many of the same contractors who had been paid to haul the excellent garbage in were then paid a second time to haul the excellent garbage out in a less-than-excellent shell game that meant lucre for an elite group of crappy corporations. 

Flag-USAUranium Titan Tumbles  EcoWatch July 12, 2013  By Geoffrey Sea“…….Excellent Extortion Recent developments at Piketon and Paducah make no sense at all without understanding that the working national plan for how to deal with the outmoded gaseous diffusion plants and their massively contaminated sites has been to convert both into “national sacrifice” waste repositories. But you won’t find that plan in any Federal Register notices or Environmental Impact Reports. Rather, it’s the subtext of a hundred different records of decision and formal notifications. The new way to evade those nuisance environmental compliance requirements is for federal agencies and funded corporations to simply not announce what they intend to do. Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Antinuclear campaigners break in to French nuclear power plant

flag-franceBreak in at French nuclear plant Sky News, July 15, 2013 Around two dozen Greenpeace campaigners have broken into a nuclear plant in southern France, in the latest such break-in by the environmental group.

The activists managed to enter the grounds of the Tricastin plant, some 200 kilometres north of Marseille, at around 5am (1300 AEST), Greenpeace and police said.

They hung banners reading ‘Tricastin: a nuclear accident’ and ‘Francois Hollande: president of a catastrophe?’ in reference to the French leader, according to Isabelle Philippe, a Greenpeace spokeswoman.

Twelve of the activists were arrested more than two hours later, according to the EDF energy giant that runs the country’s atomic power plants……

Members of the environmental anti-nuclear group have staged several break-ins at French nuclear plants in recent years in an effort to highlight what they say are dangers of atomic power and to expose security problems at the power stations.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Cancer risk to children increased with CT scans

cancer_cellsThey found, after some statistical adjustment, that the group of children exposed to CT scans were 24 percent more likely to develop any cancer during the study time period and that their risk bumped up (about 16 percent or so) with each additional scan. The peril was greater for children exposed at younger ages and was linked to many different types of malignancies — including cancers of the brain, skin, blood and gut

CT-scanDr. Dustin Ballard: Examining the trade-offs with CT scans By Dr. Dustin BallardIJ correspondent 07/15/2013   IN MEDICINE, like in life, there are almost always trade-offs. Most treatments, even unassuming ones like oxygen, have side effects. And most medical tests hold the potential of unintended consequences.

Consider the recent evidence about the long-term effects of CAT Scan (CT) radiation in children. But, before we get there — please don’t flip out — CTs can be valuable tools, so please don’t decide that you will boycott them entirely. That said, it’s undeniable that there’s been an explosion in the use of CTs, and that this is a concerning trend. Mounting evidence shows that CT exposure in childhood results in a small but real increased risk of cancer later in life. Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, radiation | Leave a comment

India: wind energy production is beating nuclear

wind-turb-sm“Since 2007, with almost 100% investment from the private sector, wind energy production is more than that of nuclear energy,”


flag-indiaWhy nuclear when wind energy is better? http://www.dnaindia.radiation-sign-sadcom/bangalore/1861294/report-why-nuclear-when-wind-energy-is-better , Jul 15, 2013, : Bangalore | Agency: DNA Malavika Velayanikal  Members of Parliament interact with renewable energy experts at the Climate Parliament meet in the city. What happens when a bunch of intelligent and well-informed Members of Parliament get thrown into a room full of renewable energy experts? 

A lot of pertinent questions are asked, solutions are discussed and plans of action to tap green energy get charted.

This, in nutshell, is what happened at the first day on Climate Parliament meet in Bangalore on Saturday.
“When both nuclear energy and wind energy each contribute 3% of the total energy production in the country, why is the government promoting and investing in nuclear energy, and not wind energy, which is almost entirely funded by the private sector?” This was one of the hard questions that came up during the meet.  Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | India, politics, renewable | Leave a comment

Time for a more realistic diplomacy with North Korea

diplomacy-not-bombsFlag-USAU.S. Policy Toward a Nuclear North Korea Should Reflect Reality US News, By  July 15, 2013  “……..what politicos have forgotten, or conveniently overlooked, is that in the past few flag-N-Koreaweeks, North Korea has twice made offers to talk with the United States about its nuclear program. Clearly, something happened – possibly China condoning sanctions or Dennis Rodman saying he was going to visit North Korea again – that made the reclusive country want to begin discussing its nuclear program. This is a good trend and something we should support.

.. the United States has been neutral, even chilly, in its response to North Korea’s recent overtures. Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

The disastrous history of U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC)

Despite public funding, no governmental process is contemplated for gathering or disseminating data on the commercial worthiness of USEC’s centrifuges, because that answer is already widely known: The technology at issue is forty years old and out of date…… doesn’t produce anything anymore and it never will

secret-agent-Smthe “American Centrifuge” project (ACP)  was never more than a false front, a mechanism for wrangling government bailout after government bailout, while the rock-red company waited for a Republican administration that would approve its audacious waste storage plans.

Moniz,-ErnestThat team included Iraq War architect Richard Perle and a physics professor whose only claim to fame was in pushing centralized storage solutions for spent nuclear fuel. His name was Ernest Moniz. (left)

Uranium Titan Tumbles  EcoWatch July 12, 2013  By Geoffrey Sea “……The Un-American Centrifuge Plant  Created first as a government corporation in response to a mismanagement scandal at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the 1990s, USEC was privatized in 1998. The USEC Privatization Act, premised on delusional Thatcherite ideology, placed two solemn obligations on the respective parties in the split: The Department of Energy, though continuing to own the land and facilities with which USEC operates, had to stay out of the business of uranium enrichment; USEC, while free to conduct its business as a private corporation, had to use its free access to public land and resources to develop advanced uranium enrichment technology and improve the U.S. position in the global enrichment marketplace.

Now those statutory goals can only bring a ROFLMAO reaction. USEC has become a wholly-dependent ward of the Department of Energy, which effectively makes all the big “business” decisions that concern enrichment, and USEC has defaulted on any credible effort to deploy a domestic advanced enrichment technology. Yet the Privatization Act remains on the books, its provisions violated cavalierly but with no efforts at repeal, like metropolitan municipal laws about donkey carts and Sunday dancing.

The basic and shocking truth about USEC, Continue reading

July 16, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Reference, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s new solar feed-in tariff will pay off for homeowners

solar-feed-inflag-UKUK Launches Renewable Heat Incentive   16 July 13 UK households are set to reap big rewards under a new feed-in tariff scheme for energy generated by solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps.

The new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will pay homeowners the equivalent of AU$0.12c/kWh for air-to-water sourced heat pumps, AUS0.20/kWh for recycled biomass pellet boilers, AU$0.30/kWh for ground and water-sourced heat pumps, and a minimum of AU$0.31c/kWh for homes with installed flat plate and evacuated tube solar hot water systems.

The scheme is designed to assist in the uptake of renewable energy systems in the UK, cut carbon emissions and help drive down the cost of electricity bills for working families. Only technologies that help Great Britain meet its European Union renewable energy target obligations will be eligible under the new tariff arrangements.

“The Coalition is committed to helping hardworking families with the cost of living. Investing for the long term in new renewable heat technologies will mean cleaner energy and cheaper bills. So this package of measures is a big step forward in our drive to get innovative renewable heating kit in our homes,” said UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker.

The RHI is being hailed as a world first by parent agency, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The DECC says lessons learned from Renewable Heat Premium Payment – a one-off payment to assist households with the cost of installing renewable energy systems – has helped the DECC design a scheme in which people “can now invest in a range of exciting heating technologies knowing how much the tariff will be for different renewable heat technologies and benefit from the clean green heat produced.”

The RHI is open to households that have installed an eligible renewable heat technology since 2009. Payments will be made quarterly for seven years – the expected payback time of a renewable heating system, taking into account the falling cost of solar thermal and heat pump technologies.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Auditors shocked at rocketing costs for Uranium Processing Facility

fearAuditors Slam Uranium Project’s Ballooning Expense Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire 16 July 13,  WASHINGTON –– When U.S. government contractors designing a $500 million nuclear-weapon facility last year said they would have to raise the roof, they didn’t exactly mean it was time to pump up the music.

An update to plans for the future Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 national security complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., would increase its height by 13 feet — a move required for the building to hold all its intended contents. Problem was: officials offered no stab at how much the revision would cost.

The changes ended up costing well over half a billion dollars more, congressional auditors said last Friday. The site is to replace existing facilities that handle and store highly enriched uranium.

The Government Accountability Office blamed the additional $540 million price tag on a failure by the lead design firm to “adequately manage and integrate the design work” of four subcontractors. Construction of the building itself has not begun.

The unanticipated expense contrasted with a number of “overly optimistic assumptions” made by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which has overseen the project, and laid out in a 35-page GAO report.

The project’s maximum anticipated expense soared from $1.1 billion to $6.5 billion between 2004 and 2011, and the cost might increase further because the roof revision burned through nearly half of NNSA “contingency” funds. The nuclear weapons complex oversight agency — a semiautonomous branch of the Energy Department — “did not account for such a large sum of money being needed to address this risk,” the auditors said in their report to the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.

The panel fears “NNSA will not be able to execute multiple, highly complex life-extension projects and construction projects concurrently under ambitious schedules,” lawmakers said in a report on spending legislation approved by the full committee in June.

The Energy Department last month informed Congress the facility will not start becoming operational until 2025, the Knoxville News Sentinelreported on Saturday.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

USEC uranium scandal will make the Solyndra solar story look trivial

Uranium Titan Tumbles  EcoWatch July 12, 2013  By Geoffrey Sea“……..USEC has certainly achieved some record-setting milestones. The $5 billion price tag on a completed commercial centrifuge plant (an estimate USEC has not bothered to update) would be approximately 350 times the total current market value of the entire company. It’s like a kite-flying club saying that it will build a B-2 bomber. The annual salary of CEO John Welch is about a third of the total value of his company, a rate of compensation justified only by his ability to keep a straight face when saying that he expects the government to give him a $2 billion loan guarantee. Say “Solyndra” a hundred times slowly after setting off a stink-bomb to get some sense of the magnitude of the incipient scandal when USEC finally bites the dust.

But no, that really isn’t fair to Solyndra. Solyndra may have been a case of the government picking winners and losers unwisely. USEC is a case of the government picking a loser intentionally over and over again, only because the privatized cash recipient has strategically and falsely promised jobs in the states and districts of powerful Members of Congress.

Once described in the Financial Times of London as “the trust fund baby of the American nuclear industry,” USEC has squandered every sequential $50-million allowance check from the feds on posh executive salaries and luxurious lobbying. Therefore, the allegedly-private company still needs a couple of billions from the government, just to make ends meat and ward off investment-fraud litigation. The company’s loan guarantee application, repeatedly submitted in the run-up to key elections, has already been twice denied because “USEC had nothing, absolutely nothing,” in the words of a former aide to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Even if USEC got that federal loan by some underworld device, criminal or demonic, it would need to raise at least an additional $3 billion to complete a new production plant, which Welch says, still straight-faced and with no supporting evidence, could come from a Japanese international bank. I suppose that would be in gratitude for USEC’s supply of nuclear fuel to the three reactors at Fukushima that melted down and are still leaking. Those silly Japanese and their short memories and spare cash……….

July 16, 2013 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment