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One has to rethink how to maintain safety after Fukushima: Choho

…It is completely between NPCIL and financial institutions which have presence in France. We are just playing the role of a facilitator…
Tarik Choho says the EPR technology has received approval from regulators of countries such as France, the UK and China

Makarand Gadgil

Mumbai: Tarik Choho, chief commercial executive officer of the French government-owned nuclear engineering company Areva SA, is also the lead negotiator in the company’s discussions with the Indian government-owned Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL) to construct the 9,900 MW nuclear power project at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. In an interview last week, Choho countered the claim of anti-nuclear power activists that the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) technology is unproven, arguing that it has received approval from regulators of countries such as France, the UK, China and Finland. Edited excerpts:


What is a current status of your negotiation with NPCIL? When do you hope to conclude negotiations?


We would like to conclude our negotiations as soon as possible. There are some gaps in expectations and we are trying to plug them as soon as possible but can give no time frame. However, if NPCIL wants to achieve its stated goal of operationalizing the plant by 2021, then we should conclude our talks by the end of this year or, at most, by early next year.


On Thursday, the secretary of department of atomic energy (DAE), R.K. Sinha, said in a public forum that when Jaitapur project becomes operational in 2020-21, the cost of the power produced should not exceed more than Rs.6.50 per unit. Is this achievable?


A number of factors are involved in the final cost of the output from Jaitapur project. Our component is going to be just 40% of the total scope of the project. When we agreed to provide technology to build the plant in 2010, the price of power generated from the Jaitapur power plant was expected to be around Rs.4 per unit. Now we are talking of something around Rs.6.50 per unit, which means a number of things have changed and we have to factor in all those changes in our negotiations.


We are also hearing of some numbers such as Rs.9 per unit from people in DAE and NPCIL, so we first need to understand where these numbers are coming from, what assumptions lie behind these numbers and then work out a mutually agreeable solution. I believe, though, the final number will be somewhere between Rs.9 per unit and Rs.6.5 per unit.


We are also trying to source a lot of work from Indian companies to reduce costs and build indigenous capacities to maintain the plant that has a life of around 60 years or more.


Is the Indian civil nuclear liability law the reason behind protracted negotiations?


It is one of the reasons but not the only one. Since the Fukushima accident, one has had to do rethink on how to maintain safety at nuclear power plants. Besides, one also has to consider the exchange rate between the euro and Indian rupee that has altered unfavourably.


Anti-nuclear activists say that not a single EPR is currently operational in the world; reactors in France and Finland are yet to be commissioned. France is trying to sell India unproven technology. What’s your take?


EPR belongs to G3, or third-generation, reactor and the technology which has gone into EPR has evolved from earlier generation reactors, so it is not a completely new product and Areva has built and is operating 98 nuclear reactors all over the world. Besides, this design of EPR has been approved by regulators in France, Finland, the UK and China and currently we are in process of getting safety clearance from the US regulator. All these regulators have approved the EPR design only after going threadbare into the issues related to safety.


Which are the other countries that have opted for EPR technology?


You might be aware that we recently concluded an agreement to build two EPRs in the UK. We will be building two more EPRs in China and we have also won a contract to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey and negotiations are on in the case of Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Brazil.


How much exposure will French financial institutions have in the Jaitapur project?

It is completely between NPCIL and financial institutions which have presence in France. We are just playing the role of a facilitator.


December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

INTERVIEW/ Allison Macfarlane: Waste disposal plan key to nuclear power option, says NRC chief in U.S.


December 05, 2013

WASHINGTON–Countries that are set on generating nuclear power would be well advised to think first about how they intend to dispose of the nuclear waste.

So says Allison Macfarlane, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“I encourage countries that are just embarking on nuclear power to make sure that they have a plan for disposal, before they turn on the reactor,” Macfarlane said, noting that Japan has been grappling with this issue for many years.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Asahi Shimbun, she discussed the NRC’s continuing efforts to craft regulations to ensure the safety of the nuclear power industry in the United States.

Macfarlane also discussed changes in nuclear energy regulation since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, prospects for international cooperation on nuclear energy and the NRC’s ability to remain independent while maintaining a functional relationship with the industry.

Excerpts of the interview follow:

* * *

Question: In Japan, all nuclear reactors are offline now. And some politicians, like former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, say it is irresponsible to restart the nuclear power plants without having a plan for final disposal of nuclear waste. What do you think of that argument?

Answer: I encourage countries that are just embarking on nuclear power to make sure that they have a plan for disposal, before they turn on the reactor.

Because, I think if you look at the history and experience of countries that didn’t have that plan in place, which is most countries with nuclear power reactors, it hasn’t been an easy path to a solution.

Q: How about in the case of Japan?

A: I think Japan has been wrestling with this question for a long time.

Q: On the issue of final disposal, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future reviewed the policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle and recommended a new plan. It proposed that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) start a new initiative to explore the creation of one or more multinational spent fuel storage disposal facilities. As a member of the blue ribbon panel, could you comment on that?

A: I think the Blue Ribbon Commission did a good job. The idea of multinational repositories has been thought about for many, many years, and not succeeded. That’s not to say it can’t, but it’s not so easy. It’s not easy to get one, just in one’s own country.

Q: But you still believe it is an option that should be further explored?

A: I think all options should be on the table.

Q: As stated in the Blue Ribbon Commission report, this kind of attempt should be explored with active U.S. participation. Is that correct?

A: It depends. I think what will probably work better, just my own personal view, is a regional repository, not a global one.

Q: Like in Asia or other regions?

A: Some place. I’m not sure where. Perhaps several smaller countries that share a nuclear plant might get together.

Q: How about Northeast Asia?

A: Maybe. But, it might be difficult. I don’t know.

Q: With regard to plutonium, the Japanese government, as you know, maintains its policy of spent fuel reprocessing in spite of its excess plutonium stockpiles. What do you think of the continuity of this policy, from a global and regional nonproliferation perspective?

A: It’s up to Japan what to do. I just would remind people that reprocessing is a management choice in dealing with spent fuel. It’s not a solution to the waste problem because you still need a repository. France is the prime example. They are in the process, right now, of a national debate on the siting of a repository.

Q: How about from the view of nonproliferation?

A: You know, separated plutonium is certainly an issue, in terms of nonproliferation. It’s a concern. It’s a concern for state and non-state actors.

Q: Personally, I believe that Japan will never try to develop nuclear bombs. But is it still a concern?

A: One also always has to be concerned about non-state actors. Japan is a country that has experienced terrorist attacks by Aum Shinrikyo cult members. We aren’t immune to these kinds of situations.

Q: With regard to final disposal issues, what is your perspective on sites for final disposal of nuclear waste? Do you think a geological repository is the safest avenue?

A: I think that geologic repositories are the solution to the problem of high-level waste, yes.

Q: Why?

A: We don’t have a lot of good alternatives. This is an international consensus; this isn’t anything surprising. The alternatives that have been discussed–shoot it out into outer space? There’s a one-word response to that: “Challenger.”

The Challenger Space Shuttle experienced a catastrophic explosion on the way up. We don’t want that.

Put it in deep seabeds, international waters? There are international treaties against dumping radioactive material in international water, so that’s not going to happen.

So, what else are you going to do with it? This idea of transmutation, you still end up with radionuclides that have half-lives on the order of 30 years. That means you need hundreds of years of storage.

You can’t eliminate the material, so you need to remove it from the environment near humans. And the best way to do that is with some deep-mined geologic repository.

Let me tell you my personal view on this. We have a choice. It’s very simple. We either leave the stuff above ground for hundreds of years, or we put it below ground.

If we leave it above ground, we have absolutely no guarantees that somebody is going to be there and change it and take care of it for 10,000 years. So, there is a high likelihood that it will get into the environment at some point in time.

If we put it underground, we have reduced the uncertainty that that will happen. That’s our choice.

Q: OK. But, you can’t say that a geological repository is safe, can you?

A: You probably can’t say that anything is 100 percent safe. Drinking a bottle of water is not 100 percent safe. But, you can say it’s “safer” than leaving spent nuclear fuel above ground forever.

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Samurais Return to Fukushima to Uphold 1,000-Year-Old Tradition

Posted by Pinar on December 4, 2013

More pictures on the link

Fukushima Samurai – The Story of Identity is a powerful series by photographer Noriko Takasugi that captures portraits of Japanese men upholding a 1,000-year-old samurai tradition. Back in 2011, when the cataclysmic earthquake and tsunami hit Fukushima Prefecture, many people lost their homes and were forced to abandon their city, but as proven by these strong men, they did not lose their historical heritage or sense of culture.

Takasugi captures brave, patriotic men who have opted to head back into the contaminated areas only a few months after the devastating disaster to maintain their annual celebration of samurai culture at the Soma Nomaoi festival. Takasugi says, “Having spent a month with the local people between summer and autumn 2012, I believe Soma Nomaoi is not just an event but an embodiment of their identity and fight for survival. This unique sense of identity represents not only how, but why, they live.”

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Official: Protesting secrecy law is act of terrorism — Japan gov’t promotes idea that you’re racist if avoiding Fukushima produce — Bloomberg: “The entire process has echoes of George Orwell” — Nuclear activists to be constantly spied on?

Published: December 4th, 2013 at 10:11 am ET

EXSKF, Nov. 28, 2013: The 33rd Ministry of Justice human rights essay contest for junior high school students has been won by a student in Miyagi Prefecture who wrote not buying Fukushima’s peaches because of radiation fear was the same as him being “discriminated” against by his classmate for being a Chinese national. Refusing the Fukushima produce because of radiation fear is tantamount to racial discrimination, according to the student and the Ministry of Justice who selected his essay as the best of the best this year. […] Not buying Fukushima produce, as the government tells you to? You’re racist […]

Japan Times, Dec. 3, 2013: With the contentious state secrets bill slated to clear the Upper House this week, citizens have been holding daily protests in front of the Diet building, denouncing the law as emblematic of the “rise of fascism.” […] Atsuko Ikegami, 45, also decried what she viewed as the state tightening its grip on citizen access to critical information, including about nuclear crises. […] “When those (anti-nuclear) rallies happened, I thought, ‘Well, the Japanese people finally learned to stand up and make their voice heard,’ ” Ikegami said. “But the bill could subject these activists to constant spying by the state […]”

Bloomberg’s William Pesek, Dec. 2, 2013: The entire process has echoes of George Orwell. […] if I grab a beer with a bureaucrat and ask the wrong question, could I end up in handcuffs? Ambiguity reigns. Last week, the No. 2 official in [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, Shigeru Ishiba, issued a dark warning to anyone like me who might dare to question the bill. In a Nov. 29 blog post, the LDP secretary-general likened any such challenge to “an act of terrorism.” He’s since stood by his ominous statement. [Update: Read Ishiba’s apology here] […] “How can the government respond to growing demands for transparency from a public outraged by the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident if it enacts a law that gives it a free hand to classify any information considered too sensitive as a ‘state secret’?” Reporters Without Borders asked in a Nov. 27 statement. Essentially, the group argued, Japan “is making investigative journalism illegal […]

See also: Insiders: State secrets bill meant to suppress Fukushima news — Japan public stunned as citizens could face years in prison — Man’s mouth “stuffed with cloth” after voicing opposition — Toxic leaks into ocean seem unstoppable, gov’t must plug the information instead (PHOTO)

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s All This About The World Bank Not Financing Any More Nukes?

Authored by:

Tina Casey

As the cleanup drama continues to unspool around the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, the Internets have been cheering the news that the World Bank will not be financing any more such facilities in the future. That’s nice, really, except that it’s not exactly news. The World Bank has not directly financed any nuclear power plants since it put up $40 million for a 150,000 kilowatt plant in Italy back in 1959, and to date the official tally still stands at a grand total of that one.

The new news is that last week the World Bank announced a comprehensive global plan to finance more renewable energy, which is bound to set hairs on fire among conspiracy theorists everywhere. However, if you take a look back at that 1959 nuclear project, it becomes clear why the World Bank finds renewable energy a far more attractive investment.

No More Nukes For The World Bank, Since 1959

The World Bank has kindly obliged us with a detailed history of its one foray into nuclear energy. It’s well worth a read in full but here are the meaty bits.

The nuclear project was a first for both the World Bank and Italy. The bank’s $40 million loan covered about two-thirds of the overall cost, including the power plant and related works as well as a substation and 60 miles of transmission lines.

Leading up to the selection of Italy as the site of its first nuclear venture, the Bank spent four years analyzing the financial merits of nuclear energy versus conventional energy investments.

The final verdict came out positive for nuclear but only under a strict set of conditions, may of which are relevant today.

First, size matters. In order to be cost competitive, the plant would need to be sited within an existing system that could support a large new facility.

Second, everything is relative. The host country would have to be looking at high-cost fossil fuel as its only other option. In particular, countries with good hydroelectric potential would make poor sites for a new nuclear power plant. Relatedly, the country would need to be able to put up a decent share of financing the plant.

Third, the Bank anticipated that sustaining such a technologically complex project would be beyond the reach of most individual countries. If a country with otherwise good potential lacked sufficient internal resources, the Bank took into consideration a country’s ability to forge intergovernmental agreements.

Fourth, keep your fingers crossed. The Bank looked for countries that could absorb higher-than-anticipated costs if the project failed to perform as expected…in other words, it would have to be populated by ratepayers that could support higher-than-anticipated energy bills (Shoreham, much?).

Fifth, many baskets for those power eggs. Wisely, the Bank decided that “until further operational experience had been obtained,” the host country would need to have other power sources in hand.

Italy fit the bill and the rest is history. The plant went online in 1964 and was shut down 14 years later, in 1978, after an accident knocked out one of its steam generators. By 1982 it was officially declared out of service.

And that was the end of the World Bank’s purpose-driven nuclear energy adventures, although an organization called Nuclear Information and Research Service has tracked down two instances, in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, where general funds for World Bank projects have been funneled into nuclear energy.

Renewable Energy-Palooza For The World Bank

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Medical radioactive material truck ‘stolen in Mexico’

Mexican police are hunting for the truck and its contents

The IAEA did not give details on how much radioactive material was in the vehicle when it was seized, but offered to assist Mexican authorities.

A truck carrying medical radioactive material has been stolen in Mexico, the UN’s nuclear watchdog says.

Mexico told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the truck was carrying a “dangerous radioactive source” used for cancer treatments when it was stolen on Monday.

The radiotherapy source was being taken from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a waste storage centre.

It was stolen near the capital, Mexico City.

Mexico’s Nuclear Security Commission said that at the time of the theft, the cobalt-60 teletherapy source was “properly shielded”.

But the commission warned it could be “extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged”.

Local media reported that the truck, a 2.5-tonne Volkswagen Worker, was stolen by armed men at a petrol station in Tepojaco, on the outskirts of Mexico City on Monday morning.

Handout picture of nuclear material The theft took place at a petrol station

BBC world affairs correspondent Rajesh Mirchandani says Cobalt-60 could theoretically be used in a so-called “dirty bomb” – an explosive device that could spread radioactive material over a wide area – although there is no official suggestion this was the purpose of the theft.

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Nuclear Industry Applauds Canada’s Treaty Signing – but only a 1 Billion dollar limit

…..By June of 2012, Tepco had received nearly 50 billion dollars from the government…..

OTTAWA, Dec. 4, 2013 /CNW/ –

SOURCE Canadian Nuclear Association

The Canadian nuclear industry fully supports the federal government’s decision to sign the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

The president of the Canadian Nuclear Association, Dr. John Barrett, said, “This treaty is a good step toward an improved nuclear liability regime. It brings us closer to a global set of rules on liability, and aligns Canada with international standards.”

The international convention, already signed by the United States and 15 other countries, enables a consistent international approach to managing nuclear liability. More countries with nuclear electric power generation capability will need to ratify the agreement before it takes effect.

“This treaty, combined with anticipated new legislation on liability, will go a long way toward improving the liability regime for Canadian nuclear operators,” said Dr. Barrett. “We are in full support of the Government of Canada’s nuclear liability initiatives.”

The federal government announced a plan last June to amend the Nuclear Liability Act.

Changes to Nuclear Liability in Canada

“In the recent announcement by the Minister, several proposed changes were described. Primarily, the liability cap of $75 million would be increased to $1 billion. Claims would be permitted through a greater number of categories and an improved procedure for delivering compensation would be designed and implemented. The scope of compensable damage would be broadened to include economic loss and environmental damage and the limitation period for certain claims would be increased to 30 years. The new legislation would also provide for a specialised claims tribunal to, among other things, accelerate claims payments.”

Public Pays for Fukushima Clean Up While Nuclear Industry Profits

“A year after the disaster, Tepco was taken over by the Japanese government because it couldn’t afford the costs to get the damaged reactors under control. By June of 2012, Tepco had received nearly 50 billion dollars from the government.”

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Forgotten victims of a man-made catastrophe

More pictures on link

4 December 2013

Cats, dogs and ostriches dying around Fukushima, waiting for owners.  You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. This rule seems so true if you look into the story of thousands of animals left behind near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. While wild animals can flee when danger threatens, tame ones become loyal to their surroundings or depend heavily on human care. Many Fukushima animals have died while the surviving ones are still – 18 months later – patiently waiting for their owners to return, says photographer, Yasusuke Ota.

The Fukushima disaster didn’t just affect humans. On March 11 2011, the day after a tsunami damaged a nuclear reactor at Fukushima, all inhabitants within 12 miles of the power plant were evacuated. Along with all their personal belongings but they were forced to leave their pets and farm animals behind. On 14 March, there was a hydrogen explosion at the power plant, making it uncertain when the evacuees might return to their homes.

Animal lover and photographer, Yasusuke Ota was one of the volunteers who risked their own lives to carry animal feed and water back to Fukushima, into the “No go” area. He spoke about his experience and his photographic exhibition, “The Abandoned Animals of Fukushima”, to the audience at an anti-nuclear film festival in Taipei this week.

Photo: Yasusuke Ota/

Ota said it was his love for cats that first drove him to enter the area to capture images of pets and farm animals left behind but what he observed affected him far more than he had expected, and started him thinking about what he could do to help them. “I felt I needed to inform the world and leave evidence of what really happened. So I started to take photos of this while going inside the zone of rescue”.

“We found them in a hell on earth,” he said. The volunteers found cows on their knees, or stuck in bogs and ditches, emaciated horses and pigs stuck in stalls with dead animals that had died of starvation. Ota said some pets died because they were chained up or kept in cages and some starved because they stayed in their houses as if waiting for their owners to return.

Some animals had survived by eating whatever they could find and 18 months on were still patiently waiting for their owners.

Photo: Yasusuke Ota/

While showing a photograph of a sign that read “an area for good living,” Ota added that the place has become “a place to which people never return”.

Many of the images captured by Ota are horrific, depicting a mummified cat on the road, a dog’s lower jaw, a pigsty right between the two nuclear reactors, with dozens of dead pigs. Other images border on the comic; pigs trying to cool off in a shallow puddle of water and two escaped ostriches roaming the streets.

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uganda told to speed up nuclear plans by the IAEA whose running out of patience!

Screenshot from 2013-12-04 02:14:03
International Atomic Energy Agency Expert Alain Jorge Cardoso. PHOTO/Tony Rujuta.
By Moses Walubiri

A nuclear expert working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Alain Jorge Cardoso has urged the Ugandan government to press ahead with its plans to tap into its nuclear energy potential, extolling the capacity of nuclear energy to meet Uganda’s galloping energy demands.

Uganda’s energy demands, according to Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary, Kabagambe Kalisa, is growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent – a rate minister of state for energy, Simon D’Ujanga, contends the country’s total hydro energy potential will not be able to meet in the next 15 years.

“It’s really unacceptable that in Africa, only one country – South Africa – has a functioning nuclear reactor,” Cardoso said Monday during a meeting bringing together a host of African countries that are seriously considering putting nuclear energy on their power grids.

Held under the auspices of IAEA, the two-day workshop is tailored to appraising ways of IAEA assistance to the African region in what Cardoso labeled “transferring nuclear technology to Africa.”

“This recap meeting is aimed at helping African countries to make smart choices about nuclear energy,” Cardoso said.

When asked whether African countries have the financial wherewithal to invest in nuclear energy, Cardoso told New Vision that African countries can strike investment partnerships with other developed countries with such technology.

“Russia for example has expressed a willingness to build nuclear plants in developing countries as long as it gets commitment from respective governments to purchase the power generated,” Cardoso said.

Earlier, D’Ujanga had warned that Uganda risks failing to meet its energy demands if it fails to plan to bring on board alternative energy sources, including nuclear power.

“We also note that even after the Fukushima nuclear accident, several countries in the African region have remained interested in exploring nuclear power as an option for addressing energy gaps and sustaining emerging economies and Uganda is one of these countries,” D’Ujanga said.

In March 2011, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Japan spawned a monster Tsunami that grossly incapacitated the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant.

The resultant equipment failure and nuclear meltdown has once again ignited a heated debate on the safety of nuclear energy, with citizens of some countries with nuclear reactors clamoring for their shut down.

According to Uganda’s economic development blue print – vision 2040 – Uganda’s energy capacity is expected to be 41,000MW.

To achieve the energy threshold encapsulated in vision will be a herculean task given the fact that Uganda’s total energy power production is currently less than 600MW.

Drawing parallels with the economic trajectory taken by Asia’s economic tigers like South Korea and Malaysia, President Yoweri Museveni has been one of the foremost proponents of nuclear energy, saying that Uganda’s energy consumption per capita is way below the threshold required for industrialization.

Currently, Uganda has a Nuclear Energy Unit in ministry of energy which was established by The Atomic Energy Act, 2008.

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Florida PSC Approves Amended Nuclear Cost Recovery Rules

News Release: The Florida Public Service Commission

4 December 2013

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved amendments to the rule that establishes an alternative cost recovery mechanism for nuclear power plant construction projects. The rule amendments implement changes to Section 366.93, Florida Statutes, enacted by the Legislature during the 2013 session. The Florida Legislature’s statutory change retains the 2006 law’s alternative cost recovery provisions but requires additional levels of PSC review.

The alternative cost recovery mechanism, known as the Nuclear Cost Recovery Clause (NCRC), allows for the recovery of certain plant construction costs as they are incurred, rather than waiting until the plant enters commercial operation. This approach provides incentives for a utility to build nuclear power plants, by decreasing financial risk, while at the same time decreasing the total cost of the project that is ultimately passed on in customer bills.

New provisions of the law and rule limit cost recovery to only those costs related to obtaining site certification and a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, until the certification or license is granted. Utilities must petition the PSC for approval before proceeding with other preconstruction work or commencing the project’s construction phase. To gain approval, the utility must show that the plant remains feasible and that projected costs are reasonable. In addition, project carrying costs (interest costs) were revised to apply the same charge that is applied to other construction projects.

PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé said, “The amended rule will allow a greater level of PSC review as a project proceeds from one phase to the next. In addition, revising the carrying cost rate will immediately lower costs and save customers money.”

For additional information, visit

December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IRP update cuts demand outlook, suggests nuclear decision be delayed in South Africa

…It suggests that the country should not “prematurely” commit to a technology that may become “redundant” if electricity demand expectations do not materialise….

Article by: Terence Creamer

4 December 2013

Link to report

The Department of Energy (DoE) has called for public comment on an updated version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2010-2030, in which a materially lower demand outlook is projected over the 20-year horizon. In fact, the update anticipates that 6 600 MW less capacity will be required by 2030, which, in turn, could enable government to delay its decision on a new nuclear build programme.


The comment period closes on February 7 and the DoE says the responses will be used to inform a final draft to be submitted to Cabinet by March 2014. Following Cabinet endorsement, the approved document will then be promulgated and published in the Government Gazette.


The 114-page report updates the IRP 2010-3013 promulgated in March 2011 by taking account of changes to South Africa’s economic growth, as well as the electricity market.


A demand projection of between 345 TWh and 416 TWh by 2030 is made, which is considerably lower than the 454 TWh anticipated in the current version. “From a peak demand perspective, this means a reduction from 67 800 MW to 61 200 MW (on the upper end of the range), with the consequence that at least 6 600 MW less capacity is required.”


In addition, the update still uses the National Development Plan’s aspirational economic growth target of 5.4%, against which the economy is currently underperforming. Should the economy’s recovery towards such growth levels fail to materialise, though, the update’s demand projections could be reduced even further.


The update indicates that the nuclear decision should possibly be delayed, owing to the fact that revised demand projections suggest that no new nuclear baseload capacity is required until after 2025.


It suggests that the country should not “prematurely” commit to a technology that may become “redundant” if electricity demand expectations do not materialise. Under low demand growth conditions, the update does not foresee a need for nuclear baseload until after 2035.

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA – Two nuclear-waste-disposal reports raise doubts this problem can be solved

…Frankly, I assumed — with many others — that the disposal problem would be solved simply because it had to be solved, whether the nation’s reactor fleet grows larger or not.

Now I’m not so sure….

By Ron Meador

4 December 2013

Two enterprising views of America’s nuclear waste problem turned up in recent days, and may put to rest any lingering notions that solutions are near — or even likely.

And this matters — a lot — because without disposal, the accelerating campaigns for a “nuclear renaissance” as replacement for our globe-warming, fossil-fuel-consuming energy systems are just so many smoke rings.

To hear the new-nukes advocates talk about it, waste disposal is merely another technical problem and thus susceptible to technical solution. But reports from on Saturday and the Los Angeles Times on Friday suggest precisely the opposite:

Even where technical solutions have been more or less agreed upon, political and other barriers have proved insurmountable and are showing no signs of erosion.

Also, that this is true not only in the electric power sector but also at a former nuclear-weapons facility, where the federal government is in charge of all parts of the process, and money presumably is no object.

Politico’s report is focused on the civilian side and the decades-long effort to create a national repository for spent fuel assemblies from the nation’s power plants, now stored in holding pools and dry casks across 38 states, including Minnesota.

Arguably, the Obama administration’s decision to abandon the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada means essentially no progress has been made toward creation of a national repository, because Yucca was not only the first choice of successive administrations but also, in practical terms, the only choice.

Ratepayers and taxpayers alike have financed this fruitless pursuit to the tune of $15 billion in direct project costs, but that’s only the beginning of what Politico terms “The $38 billion nuclear waste fiasco.”

Ratepayers pay; taxpayers, too

According to Department of Energy figures, an additional $23 billion will be returned to electric utilities that were forced to pay into the national Nuclear Waste Fund, which would provide operating funds for a repository. This money was collected from customers at a rate of one-tenth cent per kilowatt hour.

Since 1998, which the government set and then missed as the deadline for taking waste off their hands, utility after utility has brought legal action for damages — essentially, reimbursement of their outlays for extended onsite storage and waste management arising from this broken pledge. If that’s not bad enough:

  • The official $23 billion estimate could be low by more than half, according to “industry experts” who told Politico’s Darius Dixon that the real figure is more like $50 billion.
  • Damages paid to utilities don’t come out of the Nuclear Waste Fund but out of general Treasury revenues — meaning that taxpayers who happen to also be ratepayers of a utility with a nuclear plant are paying for these problems twice. Furthermore:

The costs of inaction don’t just include dollars. The lack of a final resting place for the waste means that each nuclear plant has to stockpile its own. Thousands of tons of waste are stranded at sites around the country, including at plants that have shut down.

“I’m trying to think of some fancy words, but at the end of the day it’s just a massive consumer rip-off,” said Greg White, a regulator on the Michigan Public Service Commission who also heads the nuclear waste panel for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. NARUC, which represents state-level regulators, won a legal victory this month when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered DOE to stop collecting the fee.

Salo Zelermyer, a former George W. Bush-era DOE attorney who works at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, said the waste program has “plainly broken down” and that the government had made “no discernible progress towards its commitments.”

Xcel’s payments and recoveries

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK offers loan guarantee to Hitachi for new nuclear plant in Wales

LONDON Wed Dec 4, 2013 12:26am

(Reuters) – Britain said it agreed to provide a loan guarantee to Japan’s Hitachi to help it finance a new multi-billion pound nuclear plant in Wales.

The finance ministry on Wednesday said it would offer the UK guarantee to Hitachi to help finance its planned 2,600 megawatt Wylfa station in north Wales, “subject to final due diligence and ministerial approval”.

Britain has an ambitious target to replace its ageing nuclear fleet by the middle of the next decade, and Hitachi is one of a handful of firms ready to take on high upfront costs to build new reactors.

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Marin officials eye Japanese nuclear plant plume

But even experts do not know what, exactly, to expect when ocean waters carrying nuclear contaminants reach the West Coast in two or three years. How much of a threat will it pose? Will waves contaminated with cesium and strontium pollute the coast?…

By Nels Johnson
Marin Independent Journal

Posted:   12/03/2013

Concern that a radioactive plume is headed for the West Coast from the crippled Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant has prompted Marin County officials to monitor the situation.

Although no one knows for sure what perils if any may be in store, fears about toxic pollution have prompted supervisors Susan Adams and Steve Kinsey to ask that public safety, health and coastal staff track the issue.

Adams has asked county emergency services, fire and health officials “how they would respond”….if there was an incident” involving the plant, and Kinsey, a state coastal commissioner, has asked the state staff to be on alert for more information as well.

“Monitoring reports to date have not identified any current threats to the health of our community, so there is no need for panic,” Adams said. “Obviously, from a public health and environmental perspective, the risks to Californians from radioactive contamination if the Fukushima facility is not repaired to the highest standards remains of concern.”

Adams, a maternity nurse who heads the county’s Disaster Council, said she directed health and emergency services officials “to provide an update” to the council later this month. “I will also be contacting our state and federal representatives to learn more about what is being done to ensure the health and safety of our people and our resources from any future nuclear incident at the Fukushima plant,” she said.

Kinsey said testing of state coastal waters is underway by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He added he has asked state coastal staffers to review the situation. A Coastal Commission report is expected by next spring.

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France’s 58 Nuclear Fuel Pools Must Be Safer, Watchdog Says

…When asked about the prospect of extensive work on EDF’s existing spent-fuel ponds, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said he wasn’t aware of the “specifics.”

“It’s nothing serious in any case”…

Tara Patel

At each of Electricite de France SA (EDF)’s 58 nuclear reactors, there’s a water tank that stores spent atomic fuel rods, keeping them cool and trapping deadly radiation. The country’s atomic watchdog is concerned they aren’t safe enough.

“Significant safety improvements have to be made,” Thomas Houdre, director of reactors at Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said in an interview, making the regulator’s strongest comments on the issue so far. “There is no way of managing an accident in a spent-fuel pool. We want the possibility of this happening to be practically eliminated.”

Since Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, many countries have scrambled to reassess dangers posed by earthquakes, terrorists or worker mistakes. Electricite de France, or EDF, is being asked to review its cooling facilities and the world’s biggest atomic operator must resolve concerns of regulators in order to win permission to extend the lives of its reactors.

France’s pools are similar to those in any atomic nation: after searing hot rods are removed from the reactor, they’re submerged in water for as long as two years to cool their temperature and provide a shield from release of dangerous radiation emissions. Should their cooling systems falter and pools overheat, as happened in a Fukushima reactor pool, an unprecedented accident is possible.

“Regulators have focused on fuel ponds as part of the Fukushima follow-up,” according to Tony Roulstone, an atomic engineer who directs the University of Cambridge’s nuclear energy masters program in the U.K. “It’s not a bigger issue than before, it’s just getting more attention.”

Improve Safety

Measures to improve safety include more water supplies, better power supplies, more stored water and improved external protection, he said.

Safety concerns at spent-fuel ponds come amid debate about whether Paris-based EDF should be allowed to operate existing French reactors for as long as six decades.

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December 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment