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Back to Valindaba: SA’s plan to enrich uranium

11 Oct 2013 00:00 Sarah Wild

Experts say Valindaba, South Africa’s big new nuke idea could be a viable niche or an expensive failure.

Valindaba, once the heart of South Africa’s nuclear weapons programme, could be dusted off to play a key part in plans to enrich uranium.

But analysts, academics and experts have raised concerns about the possibility of it just being a vanity project – using technology that can be used for fuel or weapons – and whose costs, could be hidden under the shroud of national security.

The costs of major government infrastructure projects and procurements – from the projected nuclear programme and the president’s Nkandla residence to the arms deal – have all ballooned beyond initial estimates, and decision-making has been hidden in the name of state security.

Uranium enrichment could provide a viable niche for South Africa but experts are concerned it could follow the same pattern of expensive secrecy – although much more worrying, considering its nuclear weapons applications. They are asking whether it is being driven by politics and egos.

Several issues come to the fore:

  • South Africa’s previous enrichment programme, driven by military imperatives and sanctions, had a blank cheque, but revitalising Valindaba would have to be economically viable.
  • It hinges on the nuclear construction programme, which remains vague. But, if the country builds a fleet of nuclear power stations, it will need a secure supply of fuel rods for the next 50 to 60 years.
  • Although safety is a concern in the wake of the Fukushima reactor disaster, environmental organisations say the more stringent regulations will push up the costs.
  • The pebble bed modular reactor, our most recent foray into nuclear energy, cost nearly R10-billion but was mothballed when further funding could not be found.
  • Uranium has been declared a strategic mineral, and all nuclear facilities are national key points, which means that information regarding them is restricted.

From the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa’s (Necsa) Pelindaba campus in Hartbeespoort, tall smoke stacks rise out of the veld. Some belong to the Safari-1 nuclear reactor, which produces molybdenum-99, a valuable medical diagnostic tool used to identify cancer. It is exported to 60 countries and brings in about R800-million a year.

Quietly baking
But some stacks stand quietly baking in the hot spring sun; they belong to Valindaba, where South Africa used to enrich uranium for the Koeberg power station and for nuclear weapons.

In isiZulu, Pelindaba means “we don’t talk about this anymore”, and Valindaba means “we don’t talk about this at all”.

Necsa chief executive Phumzile Tshelane told the Mail & Guardian his board is “seized” about whether to reopen the country’s enrichment facilities. “We want Necsa to stand on its own and not rely on government funding.”

In the 2012-2013 financial year, Necsa received R455-million from Parliament to subsidise its operations, an amount that gets smaller each year.

The nuclear energy programme, as laid out in the government’s energy policy, makes provision for the addition of 9.6GW to South Africa’s electricity capacity from a new fleet of nuclear power stations and is an opportunity for the parastatal to “localise the back end of this procurement; we should localise as much as we can”.

“First enrichment, then fuel fabrication,” Tshelane said, adding that no decision has been taken yet. “We are thinking very hard about it and will announce plans in the next few months.”

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October 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We won’t support move to dilute nuclear liability law, says Yechury

French envoy holds talks with CPI(M) leader

THE HINDU | on Thu, Oct 10, 2:30 PM

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has ruled out supporting any move to dilute the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act. Its Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury pointed out to French Ambassador François Richier that such a step was inconceivable especially after the Fukushima accident.

There could not be any leeway with the rules of the Act as “we are very happy” that while the world woke up to inadequacies in their legislation after the Fukushima melt- down, India had put in place a law that addresses this aspect, Mr. Yechury, who also heads the party’s International Department, told Mr. Richier who called on him on Thursday.

Mr. Richier later told PTI: “I expressed to him our constant position on the liability issue. We respect the law of the country we are working in. We also discussed nuclear cooperation and the issue of liability, which is an important element. As you know, CPI(M) has a strong stand over the liability issue. We spoke about the trend and growing cooperation of the nuclear electricity production.”

Paris’ interest flows from the French civil nuclear giant company Areva having been awarded a civil nuclear park in Maharashtra, where it will set up six reactors.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Only 56% of shelters found quake-resistant – “survey did not cover Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.”

Yomiuri — Oct 11
Only about half of the designated evacuation sites in 44 prefectures are quake-resistant, according to a survey conducted by the Board of Audit.

Out of the 90,262 shelters designated by 1,615 municipalities, 50,964, or 56.5 percent, could adequately withstand earthquakes, the board said Wednesday. The survey did not cover Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. The survey has brought to the fore questions regarding the resistance of evacuation centers, as about 44 percent of them are not well prepared for secondary damage caused by aftershocks. Yet many people are expected to stay at such shelters if there is a massive quake, such as a Nankai Trough earthquake or a quake directly under the metropolitan area. The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry aims to complete reinforcing the school buildings against earthquakes by fiscal 2015.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium’s sticky and sickly price problem

The spot uranium price fell to $US34.50/lb U3O8 in late July, a price not seen since December 2005 during the upswing of a spectacular price bubble which peaked in June 2007 at $US138. The 12 per cent price slump in July was the biggest monthly loss since March 2011.

Since July, the spot price has fallen further still, to $US34, before surging to $US35 where it sits now. Recent prices are just over half the spot price of $US66.50 on March 11, 2011, the first day of the triple-disaster in northeast Japan.

The long-term contract price has been reasonably stable in recent months at $US57/lb. (At that price, the value of annual global uranium requirements for power reactors is around $US10 billion.)

FNArena wrote on September 17:

The issue of low uranium prices discouraging new supply is not just one of the spot price itself but one of the marginal cost of new supply. Producers suggested to Ux that the average marginal cost of production of operating mines is around where the spot price is now, but the marginal cost of developing a new mine is more like $US65-70/lb. From the nuclear energy prospective, respondents rated the most significant demand-side influences as, in descending order of influence, Japanese reactor restarts, Chinese reactor build, the premature shutdown of older US reactors and the emergence of newcomer countries to nuclear energy (about equal), and the upcoming French nuclear licence renewals.

Raymond James analyst David Sadowski expects an average spot price of $40 per pound this year, $52 in 2014, and $70 in both 2015 and 2016. Michael Angwin from the Australian Uranium Association expects low prices until about 2017/18, and a article states that “the road to recovery for this battered commodity will be a long haul”. Rob Atkinson, outgoing CEO of Energy Resources of Australia, says the uranium spot price is woeful, making it extremely difficult to make the case for developing a new mine, and the market will remain difficult for at least another two years.

The industry hopes that reactor restarts in Japan will improve the situation − but restarts will be slow and in many cases strongly contested. FNArena reported on October 1: “Macquarie now believe the uranium market will remain in surplus throughout their five-year forecast period, Japanese restarts or no Japanese restarts. The industry hopes that new build in China will improve the situation − but pre-Fukushima nuclear growth projections have been sharply reduced and China now plans to approve a “small number” of new reactors projects each year.

The industry hopes that the end of the US-Russian ‘Megatons to Megawatts’ program − downblending highly enriched uranium (HEU) from weapons programs for use in power reactors − will improve the situation. But mine production has met an increasing proportion of demand in recent years − 78 per cent in 2009 and 2010, 85 per cent in 2011 and 86 per cent in 2012 (the shortfall was around 10,000 tonnes of uranium in 2011 and 2012). This suggests that the end of the Megatons to Megawatts program will have a moderate impact. There is scope for weapons material to continue to supply the civil market regardless of future bilateral US-Russian agreements.

Ux Consulting noted last year that reduction in demand stemming from the Fukushima accident “essentially negates much of the reduction in supply resulting from the end of the US-Russia HEU deal”. Utilities have built up uranium stockpiles in recent years as a result of low uranium prices (the World Nuclear Association estimated commercial inventories totalling 145,000 tonnes of uranium in 2010 − enough to supply global demand for two years).

On the Megatons to Megawatts program, FNArena states that “the hole left will only prove incremental, say the analysts, given supply of alternative Russian secondary material and growing supplies from global reprocessing.”

Jeb Handwerger, described by Uranium Investing News as a “uranium bull and stock guru”, says that “Smart money recognizes the bottom.” But smart money is heading for the door. At the Paydirt Uranium Conference in February 2012 in Australia, it was clear many companies were looking elsewhere, prompting an industry veteran to quip that copper and gold had never before enjoyed so much airtime at a uranium conference. A year later, attendance was so poor that the conference was reduced from two days to one day and shifted from the Hilton Hotel to a less opulent venue.

Smart money also recognises that utilities have huge stockpiles. FNArena notes that uranium inventories across all major consumers sit at record highs. Japan has stockpiles of around 7500 tonnes, while US inventories would satisfy two years of consumption − the highest level in decades. And the nuclear power industry in the US is being battered from pillar to post with the cancellations of plans for new reactors and the closure of operable reactors.

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October 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OpEdNews – Article: Powerful Presentations on Fukushima and Nuclear Power

The Progressive Mind

The Progressive Mind is a collection of articles and annotated links to sites, articles, publications and editorials expressing progressive and humanistic viewpoints. The editor is an active supporter of efforts to uncover the truth about the horrible events on Sep 11, 2001

10 October 2013


It started this June in California. Speaking about the problems at the troubled San Onofre nuclear plants through the perspective of the Fukushima nuclear complex catastrophe was a panel of Naoto Kan, prime minister of Japan when the disaster began; Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the time; Peter Bradford, an NRC member when the Three Mile Island accident happened; and nuclear engineer and former nuclear industry executive Arnie Gundersen.

This week the same panel of experts on nuclear technology–joined by long-time nuclear opponent Ralph Nader–was on the East Coast, in New York City and Boston, speaking about problems at the problem-riddled Indian Point nuclear plants near New York and the troubled Pilgrim plant near Boston, through the perspective on the Fukushima catastrophe.

Their presentations were powerful.

Kan, at the event Tuesday in Manhattan, told of how he had been a supporter of nuclear power, but after the Fukushima accident, which began on March 11, 2011, “I changed my thinking 180-degrees, completely.” He said that in the first days of the accident it looked like an “area that included Tokyo” and populated by 50 million people might have to be evacuated.

“We do have accidents such as an airplane crash and so on,” said Kan, “but no other accident or disaster” other than a nuclear plant disaster can “affect 50 million people…no other accident could cause such a tragedy.”

OpEdNews – Article: Powerful Presentations on Fukushima and Nuclear Power.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nuclear Danger: World Action Now on Fukushima

Published on 10 Oct 2013

Screenshot from 2013-10-10 23:57:43

Journalist, author, activist and historian Harvey Wasserman has been reporting on, and participating in, the nuclear free movement for decades. In that time, by his judgment, only one other event matches the danger to the world posed by the Cuban Missile Crisis. That event is the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Haven’t heard about it in the corporate media? That’s because the deadly and dying global nuclear industry and its allies don’t want you to know.

That’s why he has organized a petition drive to the UN advocating international expert oversight of, and participation in, management of the Fukushima crisis.

In this interview, he explains why we must all be involved in this world-historical challenge to human and planetary survival.

Sign the petition here:…

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is “unnecessary, unsafe, and uninsurable, undemocratic.”

“This is a technology that can have 40 good years that can be wiped out in one bad day,”

NRC evacuation plans are “fantasy” documents,”

 As to a main nuclear industry claim in this promotion to revive nuclear power — that atomic energy is necessary in “mitigating climate change”–this has been shown to be false. 

nuclear power is “unnecessary, unsafe, and uninsurable… undemocratic.” 

highly-recommendedNuclear Power Through the Fukushima Perspective Karl Grossman : 10/09/2013  It started this June in California. Speaking about the problems at the troubled San Onofre nuclear plants through the perspective of the Fukushima nuclear complex catastrophe was a panel of Naoto Kan, prime minister of Japan when the disaster began; Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) at the time; Peter Bradford, an NRC member when the Three Mile Island accident happened; and nuclear engineer and former nuclear industry executive Arne Gundersen.

This week the same panel of experts on nuclear technology — joined by long-time nuclear opponent Ralph Nader — was on the East Coast, in New York City and Boston, speaking about problems at the problem-riddled Indian Point nuclear plants near New York and the troubled Pilgrim plant near Boston, through the perspective on the Fukushima catastrophe.

Their presentations were powerful. Continue reading

October 10, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Review of film “Pandora’s Promise”

Robert  Stone and “Pandora’s Promise”, Noel Wauchope, 9 October 13,  The film’s Australian premiere was shown in Melbourne on October 8th, with director Robert Stone answering questions afterwards.

I found myself  liking Robert Stone , for his enthusiasm, and sincere concern about climate change.

I found myself disliking the film, for its sins of omission, and manipulative way of discrediting anti nuclear  people.

“Pandora’s Promise” presents as a documentary about climate change and nuclear power.  It is very stylishly made and interesting, story on the theme that climate change is an urgent danger, and that nuclear power is the major solution to this. It is a very, very good soft sell for the nuclear industry

“Pandora’s Promise” uses the voices of people, mainly from the nuclear power lobby,The Breakthrough Institute, to present its argument.  Mark Lynas, Michael Shellenberger, Gwyneth Craven, Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes all portray themselves as former anti nuclear activists who have now seen the light, and are pro nuclear.

The film certainly highlights  the reality of climate change, the health hazards of the coal industry, and the need for action on climate change.  Indeed, that’s the background and stated reason for its main premise – that premise being –  the world should now urgently adopt nuclear power.

Here’s where the subtle, and not always so subtle, manipulation comes in. A large part of the film goes over the bad things about nuclear power, the poor safety design of early reactors, the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters.  We are led to sympathise with the anti nuclear movement and its idealism.

But then – hey presto, we learn, almost magically, that our speakers, having talked with experts, now realise that new nuclear reactors are safe and good. Today’s  environmental and anti nuclear movement , we are told, consists of well-meaning, but ignorant and uninformed  people who are denying science.

They are shown to have an irrational fear of ionising radiation.  In this they are shown as the same as climate change denialists, denying the scientific consensus. But the scientific consensus, including the World Health Organisation, is that ionising radiation is dangerous to health, even at low levels.

On the radiation question, the film is simply dishonest.  It misrepresents the World Health Organisation’s position on low dose radiation, and on Fukushima. (WHO has in fact, predicted a later increase in cancer among women exposed to Fukushima radiation).

It trots out the absurd argument about bananas being more radioactively harmful than nuclear radiation.  ( Bananas  do contain radioactive potassium-40. However, our bodies have a constant amount of potassium-40, and it does not increase through eating bananas. Any excess is quickly eliminated.  However,  man made radioactive isotopes like cesium -137 accumulate in the body, and are very dangerous)

There is not one voice in this film to provide an opposing point of view – the assumption is made that no scientifically qualified person is against nuclear power.

Having demolished the anti nuclear movement, the film goes on to demolish the clean energy movement, though it does allow renewable energy to be “part of the energy mix”. Advocates of renewable energy are described as having a “hallucinatory delusion”. Nuclear power is safer than solar or wind energy, and, after the initial set up, cost is stated to be much more economical than solar or wind.

The film then goes on to the questions of safety and of nuclear waste. It explains the “generations” of nuclear reactors. Generation 111 (current reactors) are much safer, and Generation 1V , ‘recycling’ reactors , safer still. The Integral Fast Rector (IFR) uses nuclear waste as fuel, and leaves a smaller volume of nuclear waste. However, it’s still radioactive waste, so the IFRs still have that eventual problem.

But anyway, the glory of Generation 1V nuclear reactors (none actually built and operating yet) is that with them, the world’s existing nuclear waste becomes a valuable resource, as fuel.


The film concludes on an optimistic note, enthusing about  the “renaissance in reactor design”. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), thorium reactors, Bill Gates’s Travelling Wave Reactor are especially praised. They would need to be mass produced  (and ordered en masse) . Gen 1V reactors might take  a while – 25 years to come on line, but in the meantime, Gen 111 can go ahead, as their nuclear waste can be safely stored in above ground cylinders, awaiting their new role as fuel.

This film was well received by the premiere audience. It is clear and understandable. It is quite amusing, (often at the expense of nuclear opponents, such as Amory Lovins, Ralph Nader, Jane Fonda, and of course, Australia’s own Dr Helen Caldicott.) The banana story got a good laugh.

The music is good – dramatic where needed, rather sweet and sentimental, where showing healthy people who still live near Chernobyl.

The sins of omission?  No mention was made of the terrorism risk, of nuclear reactors, nuclear waste, nuclear transport as terrorist targets. The risk of nuclear weapons proliferation was glossed over. Discussion of renewable energy ignored recent developments in wind and solar technology, their increasing use globally, and falling costs. There was no mention of the high water requirements of the uranium and nuclear industries. Nor was mentioned the vulnerability of nuclear reactors to climate extremes.

The most glaring omission was in not discussing the economics of nuclear energy, which is currently the industry’s biggest stumbling block.

Still, for Australia, the film does carry an important message about the seriousness of climate change. One questioner did wonder whether all the nuclear reactors would be up and running in time to have any effect. Robert Stone thinks that they will.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

2 holes leaked radioactive water from bottom of Fukushima tank

[Photo] 2 holes found in the bottom of 300m3 leakage tank / Entirely deteriorated  by Mochizuki on October 8th, 2013

 Following up this article.. [300m3 leakage] Tepco found 2 leaking bolts in the tank / The bolts are not loosened [URL]


Tepco has been dismantling the tank since yesterday that experienced the 300m3 of leakage. The structural flaw may cause other tanks of the same type to leak commonly. Tepco is investigating the potential leaking points.

From their inspection, they found 2 holes around the bolt parts, which are 3mm × 11mm and 3mm × 22mm.

The flange parts were rusting inside and outside. The bottom parts of the tank were found severely deteriorated.

News is not the truth. It’s a virtual reality that the sponsor wants us to live in.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Trade winds and Pacific currents bring Fukushima radiation to North America

Fukushima Radiation Hitting Canada and United States More than Japan Oct 8, 2013

Alexandra Bruce
October 5, 2013

Besides the billions of gallons of radioactive water spilling from the abandoned Fukushima Nuclear Energy Plant every day, there is also a steady plume of radio nuclides including Cesium, Cobalt, Uranium and Plutonium, which are steadily being carried across the Pacific via trade winds, with the lion’s share landing (usually, along with the rain) in communities within the US and Canada – and in places beyond, throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Ironically, more fallout is presently occurring in North America than in Japan, the scene of the disaster, due to the trade winds, off the Japanese coast.

It has been calculated that in 1 day, there are 666,733.717599549 bequerels of radiation emitted in every cubic foot of the Pacific, per mile.

There are about 63,800,000 miles in the Pacific Ocean. The average depth is about 2.28 miles. There are 145,464,000 cubic miles in the Pacific Ocean. Cesium-137 has a double decay process 94.6% of the time; first beta rays, then gamma rays.

So each cubic foot of the entire Pacific Ocean will have 218.174056838937 Beta radiation events per day and each cubic foot of the entire Pacific Ocean will have 206.392657769635 Gamma radiation events per day.

34 is the average background radiation of the N. American continent.

The Pacific Ocean will have a “radiation fog” in every cubic foot of water that is 12.47 times HIGHER than the average background radiation count of North American continent.

Sea life will be affected in some manner; perhaps all fish will get cancer. The impact on humanity is a shortage in sea food and no swimming allowed until radiation levels abate to a “safe level”… in about how long???

October 10, 2013 Posted by | NORTH AMERICA, oceans, radiation, Resources -audiovicual | 1 Comment

Yuki Karakawa speaks on radiation emergency management

Japan Expert: Second explosion was “more like a bomb” at Fukushima — Spent nuclear fuel flew 30 kilometers away, pellets collected by military — Very strange materials like europium were found — Should have evacuated out to 300 kilometers (VIDEO)
October 7th, 2013  
Title: Lessons from Fukushima
Source: Journal Tribune
Author: Tammy Wells
Date: Oct. 1, 2013

An ambassador to an international emergency management organization and a former minister of defense in Japan stopped by the York County Emergency Management Agency Monday […]

Yuki N. Karakawa, of the Karakawa Foundation and ambassador to the International Association of Emergency Managers, along with Kazuo Aichi, Japan’s defense minister in the 1990s, are both members of the Japan Resilience Initiative. […]

He said the disaster at Fukushima will be felt in Japan for a long time, and that there will be long-term medical effects – something he claims the country hadn’t put into their planning systems. […]

He estimated it will take 150 years for decontamination around Fukushima to be complete.

Yuki Karakawa – Lessons from Japan

Former York County Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Bohlmann said he’d known Karakawa for 15 years, and that he’s done a lot to spread the word about emergency management globally. […]

Yuki Karakawa’s presentation to InfraGard (“a partnership between U.S. businesses and the Federal Bureau of Investigation… dedicated to prevent hostile acts against the United States”), Published February 2013 (At 7:30 in): “300 kilometers should be evacuated, but we did not, Japan did not evacuate. […] In some areas, we can find very strange material like europium and so on. Now Self Defense Forces is collecting all materials. Also spent fuel flew because of a second explosion; it’s more like a bomb, exploded and flew like 30 kilometers. So government, or Self Defense, is now collecting all spent fuel pellets.”   Watch Karakawa’s presentation here
See also: New Book: Nuclear explosion may have occurred at Fukushima Unit 3 after ‘supercritical condition’ — Sudden increase in plutonium, uranium recorded by U.S. at several EPA stations

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Japan, Resources -audiovicual, safety | Leave a comment

Irradiated medical patients can pose risk to others

Internal radiation is another matter..

The Johns Hopkins report said that if low-dose temporary pellets are used, patients require a hospital stay. During this time, they should have limited contact with family members. Friends should stay for only 10 to 30 minutes, and pregnant women should stay away.

But it’s still another story if doctors implant permanent brachytherapy implants. These gradually degrade over time and require greater precautions. Radiation experts say patients should not hug family members or others who want to wish them well for a few days following implantation. And for six months, they should keep 6 feet away from children and pregnant women.

Patients must remember that radiation is like an elephant: It never forgets. This means that radiation is cumulative, each radiation exposure adding to the last one.

medical-radiationCan Radiated Patients Spread Radiation to Others? By , | October 9, 2013 How careful do patients have to be following nuclear diagnostic tests or after radiation for the treatment of cancer? How long do these nuclear materials remain in their bodies? And how long will this radiation remain detectable and transmissible to others?

A report from Johns Hopkins University several years ago said that patients who have been radiated must be made aware that they can pass radiation to others. The problem is that nuclear diagnostic tests are not going to go away. Unless we develop other means of diagnosis, these tests will increase in the years ahead.

During scans to detect thyroid disease, coronary troubles, and cancer, radioactive drugs are injected, taken orally, or inhaled. Gamma cameras or positron emission tomography (PET) scanners can then detect this energy and use it to produce images on a computer.

Because of this exposure to radiation, doctors advise patients to be certain to wash hands well after using the toilet. And they advise that it’s also important to flush the toilet twice to get rid of any radioactive material.

There are also varying degrees of radiation. For instance, radiation therapy delivers much higher amounts of radioactivity than nuclear scans. But patients having external radiation therapy should know that beams of radiation focused on a cancer will not spread radiation to other people. Continue reading

October 10, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, Reference | Leave a comment

Setback for UK and others’ nuclear projects, as EU rules against subsidies

judge-1Blow to nuclear projects as Brussels drops plan for subsidy rules By Alex Barker and Joshua Chaffin in Brussels, 9 Oct 13  Nuclear power projects in Europe face a legally uncertain future after Brussels heeded German concerns and ditched plans to issue specific guidelines on permitted state subsidies.

In a blow to the UK, France and countries in central and eastern Europe eyeing flag-EUnew nuclear programmes, the European Commission decided informally on Tuesday to carry on investigating programmes on a case-by-case basis. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

This puts Britain in the uneasy position of acting as a test case for EU public subsidy rules on the next generation of nuclear plants when it seeks clearance from Brussels in the coming months.

The UK is offering various support mechanisms, including a guaranteed price for nuclear power and a financing “guarantee”, to entice the private sector into building a series of nuclear reactors.

The UK Treasury is locked in talks with EDF, the French energy group, over a price mechanism for energy from its proposed reactor at Hinkley Point in southwest England.

Brussels issued separate state-aid guidelines governing renewable forms of energy, as well as energy efficiency projects, in 2008. Joaquín Almunia, the EU competition commissioner, considered extending these to the nuclear sector under a broader review of the regime for policing state subsidies.

……..At Tuesday’s closed door meeting of EU commissioners, Mr Almunia opted to advise against separate guidelines, a position supported by a vast majority in the room…….

October 10, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

PHOTOS: broken support braces on 400-foot tower near Fukushima reactors

New report shows support braces completely severed on 400-foot tower near Fukushima reactors (PHOTOS)


Title: (Systran Translation) Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant — Safety appraisal for the component damage of the machine chimney
Source: Tepco
Date: Oct. 7, 2013
h/t Fukushima Diary

See also: Gundersen: Quite likely that 400 foot tall tower near Fukushima reactors “buckled” from massive earthquake — Consequences of it collapsing being analyzed by Tepco (VIDEO)

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, incidents, Japan | 1 Comment

How is the USA government shutdown affecting nuclear power?

Nuclear Power and the Shutdown NYT, By PHILIP M. BOFFEY 9 Oct 13Try as they may, Tea Party Republicans who triggered the shutdown cannot disguise the fact that it is disrupting important government activities.

Fortunately, the heads of federal agencies are not as reckless as Tea Partiers and have generally found ways to continue activities to protect public safety and health. But if this shutdown grinds on much longer it could cause significant harm.

Here is how two science-based agencies are faring.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The agency is expected to run out of previously appropriated money at the close of business on Thursday. At that point, the work force of 3,900 will drop to about 300. Some 150 inspectors at the nation’s 100 nuclear power plants will remain on the job as will an equal number of personnel in emergency response and support functions. That is an essential move to make sure reactors continue to operate safely. Work that is extremely important for future nuclear operations, however, will stop in its tracks. There will be no work on licensing new reactors or certifying new reactor designs, no work on adjudicating technical disputes, and no travel to or participation in meetings on such important issues as nuclear waste disposal. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, an expert group that second-guesses agency decisions, has started canceling hearings into next week…..

October 10, 2013 Posted by | general | Leave a comment