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Fearing nuclear escalation, India limits its response to Pakistan’s provocations


August 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IEER Report: Small Modular Reactors a “Poor Bet” To Revive Failed Nuclear Renaissance in U.S.

SMRs will still present enormous financial risks, but that risk would be shifted from the reactor site to the supply chain and the assembly lines. Shifting from the present behemoths to smaller unit sizes is a financial risk shell game, not a reduction in risk.”

PR Newswire

$90 Billion in Initial Manufacturing Order Book Needed, Requiring Massive Involvement by the Chinese or Taxpayer-Backed Federal Subsidies; Major Implications Seen for Companies and SMR Test Sites in FL, MO, NC, OR, PA, SC, and TN.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A shift to “small module reactors” (SMRs) is unlikely to breathe new life into the increasingly moribund U.S. nuclear power industry, since SMRs will likely require tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies or government purchase orders, create new reliability vulnerabilities, as well as serious concerns in relation to both safety and proliferation, according a report issued today by the nonprofit Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) think tank .

The IEER report has implications for SMR companies headquartered or with planned test sites in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Titled “Light Water Designs of Small Modular Reactors: Facts and Analysis,” the IEER report focuses on light water reactor (LWR) SMR designs, the development and certification of which the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is already subsidizing at taxpayer expense.  The four leading SMR designs are: mPower Reactor by Charlotte, NC-headquartered Babcock & Wilcox Company, which, in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority, could get from the DOE up to $226 million in federal funding, of which $79 million has been secured; Westinghouse Electric, headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA., and now working with Missouri-based utility Ameren to secure DOE funding for design and certification of the Westinghouse SMR; Jupiter, FL-based Holtec, the subject of a DOE agreement for the construction of  a Holtec SMR test unit at the Savannah River Site, a nuclear-weapon materials facility near Aiken, S.C. and NuScale Power, a Corvallis, OR. Company, which has signed an agreement with the DOE to build a NuScale Power SMR demonstration unit at the Savannah River Site.

Key conclusions of the IEER report include the following:

  • $90 billion manufacturing order book could be required for mass production of SMRs.   As the report notes: “SMR proponents claim that small size will enable mass manufacturing in a factory and shipment to the site as an assembled unit, which will enable considerable savings in two ways. First, it would reduce onsite construction cost and time; second, mass manufacturing will make up in economies of volume production what is lost in economies of scale. In other words, modular reactors will be economical because they will be more like assembly-line cars than hand-made Lamborghinis ?¦ A hundred [mPower] reactors, each costing about $900 million, including construction costs ?¦ would amount to an order book of $90 billion, leaving aside the industry’s record of huge cost escalations. This would make the SMR assembly- line launch something like creating a new commercial airliner, say like Dreamliner or the Airbus 350 ?¦ SMRs will still present enormous financial risks, but that risk would be shifted from the reactor site to the supply chain and the assembly lines. Shifting from the present behemoths to smaller unit sizes is a financial risk shell game, not a reduction in risk.”
  • Who pays?:  China or massive federal subsidies … or both.  As the report notes, the industry’s forecast of relatively inexpensive individual SMRs is predicated on major orders and assembly line production. However, “China, where 28 reactors are under construction, already has a much better supply chain than the United States. So the U.S. government subsidies to B&W, TVA, and Westinghouse and others may pave the way for an assembly line in China! In fact, Westinghouse has already signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation ‘to develop an SMR based on Westinghouse SMR technology.’ … The alternative to Chinese manufacture would be federal government subsidies to set up manufacturing in the United States.”  Westinghouse has claimed that U.S. reactor orders would be sourced in the U.S. ?? but would require two supply chains. Already, there is discussion of billions of dollars in additional federal subsidies for SMRs to do what the private marketplace will not.
  • SMRs will lose the economies of scale of large reactors.  As the report notes: “Nuclear reactors are strongly sensitive to economies of scale: the cost per unit of capacity goes up as the size goes down. This is because the surface area per kilowatt of capacity, which dominates materials cost and much of the labor cost, goes up as reactor size is decreased. Similarly, the cost per kilowatt of secondary containment, as well as independent systems for control, instrumentation, and emergency management, increases as size decreases ?¦ For these reasons, the nuclear industry has historically built larger and larger reactors in an effort to benefit from economies of scale. The four designs would reduce the size of each reactor considerably: by a factor of five (Westinghouse) to a factor of 25 (NuScale) relative to the reactors now being built in Georgia and South Carolina. Such large size reductions imply significant increases in unit cost due to loss of economies of scale.”  It is highly questionable whether mass manufacturing cost reduction can make up for the cost escalation caused by loss of economies of scale.

Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., nuclear engineer and president, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and author of the SMR report, said: “SMRs are a poor bet to solve nuclear power’s problems and we see many troubling ways in which SMRs might actually make the nuclear power industry’s current woes even worse. SMRs are being promoted vigorously in the wake of the failure of the much-vaunted nuclear renaissance. But SMRs don’t actually reduce financial risk; they increase it, transferring it from the reactor purchaser to the manufacturing supply chain. Given that even the smaller risk of projects consisting of one or two large reactors is considered a ‘bet my company’ risk it is difficult to see that Wall Street would be interested in betting much larger sums on financing the SMR supply chain without firm orders. But those orders would not be forthcoming without a firm price, which cannot be established without a mass manufacturing supply chain. This indicates that only massive federal intervention with tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and orders could make mass-manufacturing of SMRs a reality in the United States.”

M.V. Ramana, Ph.D., Nuclear Futures Laboratory and Program on Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, said: “SMRs would likely increase proliferation risks. My colleagues at Princeton University and I analyzed the proliferation risks of SMRs of various kinds ?¦ and concluded that the proliferation risks would increase significantly unless specific design and safeguards steps were taken to mitigate them.  Left unaddressed risk increases by about 45 percent compared to current light water reactors for an equivalent power capacity. This risk increase does not include the inspection problems attendant upon a larger geographic dispersal that may accompany small modular reactors. The safeguarding of the reactors and spent fuel would be a more difficult and complex task than with the large reactors of today.”

Dr. Makhijani added: “Without huge federal subsidies, the SMR supply chain is likely to emerge in other countries, probably China, even if the designs are proven and tested in the United States. Why would China order large numbers of U.S. reactors when it can set up its own supply chain and can manufacture industrial goods more cheaply? It is fanciful and impractical to believe that SMRs can bring large numbers of industrial jobs to the United States in a globalized world economy governed by World Trade Organization rules.  Efficiency improvements and wind-generated electricity, are already cheaper than new large reactors. On the other hand, commercialization of SMRs will require mass manufacturing facilities for the entire supply chain, which will take a decade or more, if there are sufficient orders. By that time, a distributed grid based on renewable energy is likely to be a reality, eliminating the need for a new generation of nuclear reactors large or small.”

Other key report findings include the following:

  • SMRs could reduce some safety risks but also create new ones, particularly if current reactor rules are relaxed.  Key elements of SMRs would be underground. “These [safety] features [of SMRs] would reduce some risks. But they could create new problems as well. For instance, they could aggravate the problem of flooding ?¦ Safety improvements may be reduced because SMR proponents are already arguing for changes in regulations to reduce costs. For instance, the current mPower design would have just three personnel for operating for two reactors ?? an operator for each reactor and one supervisor overseeing them both. This raises serious safety questions ?? will three operating staff be able to adequately respond to and manage a serious accident? Reducing security requirements, the plant exclusion zone, and the 10-mile emergency planning zone are other industry regulatory goals for SMRs.”
  • It breaks, you bought it:   No thought is evident on how to handle SMR recalls.   “Millions of cars, presumably made to high quality control are routinely recalled. The most comparable example in terms of the size of the supply chain and overall order books for SMRs would be passenger aircraft. Boeing Dreamliners were presumably rigorously designed, tested, and certified before they entered into service. But battery failures, including a fire in flight resulted in a worldwide grounding of all the planes. How would a similar situation with SMRs be handled? Would they all be shut down pending resolution of an issue of comparable significance? What about grid stability, if SMRs supply almost 25 percent of the electricity by 2035 (as has been suggested).”

See the full report at

The nonprofit Institute for Energy and Environmental Research provides interested parties with understandable and accurate scientific and technical information on energy and environmental issues. IEER’s aim is to bring scientific excellence to public policy issues in order to promote the democratization of science and a safer, healthier environment.

SOURCE Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Washington, DC.

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August 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Japan getting ready to officially discharge radioactive water to Pacific Ocean?

 The government’s expanded role will likely be led by the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, or METI, which has been criticized for its close ties to TEPCO and the rest of the nuclear industry

Other aspects of the Fukushima plant’s decommissioning have also been dominated by other members of Japan’s collusive “nuclear village,” as the close-knit industry is called, including reactor makers and politically connected large construction companies. 


flag-japanJapanese government intervenes to shore up crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, The Globe and Mail, MARTIN FACKLER TOKYO — The New York Times News Service , Aug. 08 2013,“……….As the scope of the latest crisis became clearer Wednesday, Japan’s popular prime minister, Shinzo Abe, ordered his government to intervene in the cleanup of the plant – taking a more direct role than any government since the triple meltdowns in 2011 qualified Fukushima as the world’s second worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl.

Abe, a staunch defender of the country’s nuclear program, appears to have calculated that he needed to intervene to rebuild public trust and salvage a pillar of his economic revival plan: the restarting of Japan’s many idled nuclear plants………Some experts suggested Wednesday that the government’s intervention may be the first step in attempts to win public acceptance for what they say is an increasing inevitability: the dumping into the ocean of some of the less contaminated of the huge amount of water being stored in hulking tanks that are overwhelming the plant.

At a news conference last week, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, seemed to lay the groundwork, saying eventually “it will be necessary to discharge water,” a possible solution likely to raise concerns not only in Japan but in other Pacific Rim countries. Continue reading

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Mayor of Nagasaki’s Peace Declaration

Full text of Nagasaki Peace Declaration By Tomihisa Taue,Mayor of Nagasaki The following is the full text of the Peace Declaration presented Aug. 9, 2013 by Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, at a ceremony to mark the 68th anniversary of the World War II atomic bombing of the city.

Sixty-eight years ago today, a United States bomber dropped a single atomic bomb directly over Nagasaki. The bomb’s heat rays, blast winds, and radiation were immense, and the fire that followed engulfed the city in flames into the night. The city was instantly reduced to ruins. Of the 240,000 residents in the city, around 150,000 were afflicted and 74,000 of them died within the year. Those who survived have continued to suffer from a higher incidence of contracting leukemia, cancer, and other serious radiation-induced diseases. Even after 68 years, they still live in fear and suffer deep psychological scars.


Humankind invented and produced this cruel weapon. Humankind has even gone so far as using nuclear weapons on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Humankind has repeatedly conducted nuclear tests, contaminating the earth. Humankind has committed a great many mistakes. This is why we must on occasion reaffirm the pledges we have made in the past that must not be forgotten and start anew. Continue reading

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Japan, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America desperate to sell off nuclear technology to India?

Buy-US-nukesUnfortunate that Indo-US nuclear trade has stalled, says Washington NDTV by Pallava Bagla | August 09, 2013  Washington: The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was billed as the corner stone of the burgeoning strategic partnership between the countries. However, five years later, the deal has not gone according to the script, and the US says the nuclear commerce has not benefitted the Americans who did most of the global diplomatic heavy lifting.
India’s people-friendly nuclear liability regime has reportedly irked the US.

“The nuclear issue is complex. US is not frustrated but India’s nuclear liability law is a concern and it is unfortunate that nuclear trade has not commenced,” said Richard Stratford, director of nuclear energy, safety and security at the US state department…..

August 9, 2013 Posted by | marketing, marketing of nuclear, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

Fukushima nuclear plant water has very high cesium levels

Cesium-137Nuclear Expert: Water now at Fukushima plant has 3 times more cesium than Chernobyl’s total release — “That underscores the scale of this never-ending threat”
Title: A Fukushima fisherman’s tale: Radioactive water from the Daiichi plant is flowing into the ocean at a rate of 300 tons a day
Source: The Independent
Author: David McNeill
Date: August 7, 2013
Experts say the government’s admission shows that the crisis at the Daiichi complex is being managed, not solved.
“It is an emergency – has been since 11 March 2011 and will continue to be long into the future,” said Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear consultant.
He says onsite contaminated water contains three times the caesium released from the 1986 Chernobyl accident – the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
“That underscores the scale of this never-ending threat.”
See also: Senior Scientist: 100 times more strontium than cesium in water at Fukushima plant — “Strontium gets into your bones… it changes the equation for Japanese fisheries” — Not “too” concerned U.S. fish will be affected

August 9, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Mayors For Peace commit to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World

Hiroshima-Never-AgainAfter the bombing, the American military censored all documentation and photo images of the two bombs’ unparalleled human devastation, sheltering Americans from the horrors of what our government perpetrated on Japanese civilians: women, men, and children instantly reduced to ash.

The mayors of Easthampton, Holyoke and Northampton co-sponsored this resolution for a nuclear weapons-free world and are members of Mayors for Peace, the leading international organization with 5,600 member cities in 156 countries devoted to protecting cities from the scourge of war and mass destruction.

We honor their public commitment to a genuinely secure world

Doug Renick & Pat Hynes: Years after nuclear dawn, world lacks true security that people deserveBy DOUG RENICK and PAT HYNES August 8, 2013  NORTHAMPTON — This week is the anniversary of the use of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an act that launched the perilous era of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. After the first atomic blast Aug. 6, 1945, which killed 100,000 residents of Hiroshima immediately, the grievous radiation sickness of survivors was not anticipated, nor was it believed when reported.

Without any reconsideration, the United States dropped a second bomb 68 years ago today — this one plutonium — on Nagasaki, killing 70,000 citizens outright.

On Friday at 7 p.m. in Northampton, an event commemorating the victims of nuclear weapons and nuclear power will take place at McConnell Hall at Smith College. Continue reading

August 9, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Yoshito Matsushige, photographer of iconic Hiroshima bombing pictures

 the American military confiscated all of the post-bomb prints, just as they seized the Japanese newsreel footage, 

Hiroshima-landscapeJournalist Took Five Historic Pictures—That Must Never Be Repeated The Nation, Greg Mitchell on August 8, 2013    Yoshito Matsushige, a photographer for the Chugoku Shimbun, took the only pictures in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, that have surfaced since. It was these five photos Life magazine published on September 29, 1952, hailing them as the “First Pictures—Atom Blasts Through Eyes of Victims,” breaking the long media blackout on graphic images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On August 6, 1945, Matsushige wandered around Hiroshima for ten hours, carrying one of the few cameras that survived the atomic bombing and two rolls of film with twenty-four possible exposures. This was no ordinary photo opportunity. He lined up one gripping shot after another, but he could only push the shutter seven times. Continue reading

August 9, 2013 Posted by | history, Japan, media, Reference, resources - print | 1 Comment

Japanese man advocates for Korean hibakusha

hiroshimaJapanese man stands up for Korean A-bomb victims jdp.  AUGUST 8, 2013 by FAITH AQUINO  Second-generation A-bomb victim Nobuto Hirano has been helping Korean atomic bomb survivors for almost three decades now. Although the Little Boy and the Fat Man were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, there were also thousands of Korean victims of the atomic explosions. Despite criticism from fellow Japanese, Hirano has continued to carry out his advocacy for the hibakusha who also deserve compensation but were neglected….

August 9, 2013 Posted by | history, Japan | Leave a comment

Water discharge permit may lead to closure of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

reactor-Indian-PointIndian Point may close if Entergy loses water-use permit Company proposes new screen-filtering system, Aug. 6, 2013 The future of the Indian Point nuclear power plant may rest on the bottom of the Hudson River. That is where plant owner Entergy Nuclear wants to install a new technology to filter the  water needed to cool the plant’s reactors. The technology is Entergy’s attempt to get a water-use permit from the state, without which it could no longer operate Indian Point.

 The environmental group Riverkeeper said Entergy isn’t likely to get the state permission it needs to build anything on the river bottom — an assessment with which the utility company disagrees……..The DEC in 2010 ruled the plant’s daily use of 2.5 billion gallons of river water harmed fish populations and the river’s ecosystem. It denied Entergy the water-use permits. Without them, Entergy can’t renew the plant’s licenses for another 20 years, said Neil Sheehan, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman. The licenses expire this year and in 2015.

 “A final decision by the NRC in favor of the (renewal) application is contingent upon, among other things, successful resolution of the water discharge permit issue at the state level,” Sheehan said.

Entergy has balked at building closed-cycle towers, contending they are too expensive and too massive. Entergy has estimated the towers would cost about $1 billion, approximately 10 times as much as the wire screen technology.

August 9, 2013 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment