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Big push for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors grinds to a halt

Small-modular-reactor-dudAmeren/Westinghouse passed over again for small modular reactor funding By JACOB BARKER  December 13, 2013  Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric again were passed over by the U.S. Department of Energy, which announced Thursday that its final funding award under a small modular nuclear reactor program would go to NuScale Power of Portland, Ore.

The announcement was the second disappointment for a coalition built around Westinghouse’s nuclear reactor design and St. Louis-based Ameren, which had indicated it would build a new reactor near its existing nuclear power plant in Callaway County if it could secure a federal investment….. the department said it would enter into a five-year cost-share agreement with NuScale and invest as much as half of the total project cost. The department did not release the final amount it would put up for the project, saying that sum would be negotiated with NuScale and come from a $452 million fund established for the SMR program.

…….[In 2012] DOE said then it would open future funding opportunities, but this time, it isn’t planning any more…..

“As a result of the DOE’s decision, we are stepping back and considering our alternatives as we continue to focus on maintaining all generation options for a cleaner energy portfolio to meet Missouri’s energy needs in the future,” Ameren said in its statement. ……

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment responded to the decision with a news release saying Missouri should focus on “clean renewable energy,” excluding nuclear power, in line with a 2008 statewide vote requiring utilities to generate more power from renewable sources.

December 15, 2013 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s great nuclear weapons stockpile belies its talk about disarmament

Limiting nuclear weapons: Diplomacy and dialogue  The Hill, By Catherine Thomasson, M.D. 13 Dec 13, As diplomats seek a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear program, another crucial dialogue has escaped notice. The need remains for further dialogue in the U.S. to limit the stockpiling of nuclear weapons at home. Twenty years after the Cold War, the United States maintains a nuclear arsenal that far exceeds any strategic requirement.

The U.S. still has 8,000 nuclear weapons while only 300 warheads would annihilate our entire population. With changing global realities, it’s time the United States eliminated the nuclear stockpiles that cost billions, do nothing to address 21st Century security challenges, and instead only pose a great security risk to U.S. citizens.Nuclear weapons cause more damage than can be imagined and kill indiscriminately. A twenty megaton bomb vaporizes all living things within a two mile radius with temperatures higher than the surface of the sun; the explosive force in a four mile radius flattens everything in sight including underground structures, and causes spontaneous fires from flammable materials for a 16 mile radius.  There is no “acceptable” level of nuclear weapons that is consistent with the ultimate survival of civilization.

Under agreements such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996, many countries have agreed to limit the testing and detonation of nuclear weapons with the goal of achieving total nuclear disarmament. The UN provides a necessary forum for multilateral diplomacy and cooperation – but progress isn’t being made fast enough…….

The conversation about reducing the U.S. nuclear stockpile must happen now. This is an urgent threat, a threat that cannot be ignored while we attempt to eliminate other proliferation risks. As former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) recently wrote “The continuing risk posed by nuclear weapons remains an overarching strategic problem, but the pace of work doesn’t now match the urgency of the threat.”…..

As long as there are arsenals of nuclear weapons, we are living on borrowed time. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to eliminate from the world weapons that destroy not only those we consider the enemy, but also ourselves  . Thomasson, M.D. is executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

December 15, 2013 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 4 Comments

Record radiation levels detected in well at Fukushima nuke

water-tanks-Fukushima A record 1.8 million becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter of water were detected at a monitoring well at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Dec. 13.  
The reading concerns strontium and other beta-ray sources.  The water was sampled at a monitoring well in an area close to the sea near the No. 2 reactor building on Dec. 12. The well is located close to trenches holding highly radioactive water.  TEPCO said the reading apparently spiked after highly radioactive water seeped into the surroundings through failed parts of the trenches.

December 15, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | 1 Comment

$27 Billion Jump in USA’s nuclear weapons costs

weapons1U.S. Nuclear-Arms Cost Estimate Jumps Up $27 Billion GLOBAL SECURITY NEWSWIRE, 13 Dec 13  National Journal, An 18-year spending outlook for U.S. nuclear arms has shot up by $27.1 billion, and costs could rise further still, congressional auditors said this week.

Investigators found the increase by comparing the Obama administration’s latest cost estimate for maintaining and updating U.S. nuclear weapons over a set period — fiscal years 2014 through 2031 — to the U.S. estimate from two years ago for the same timeframe, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday……

December 15, 2013 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA government has lost enthusiasm for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Small-modular-reactor-dudDOE Drops the Ball on Nuclear Design Funding  The Motley Fool, By John Licata   December 13, 2013  …The Department of Energy (DOE) was expected to announce two winners of the first round of small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) design funding which was delayed several times in 2012. However, only one award was announced last November and that award went to Babcox & Wllcox (NYSE: BWC  ) . Now over one year later and past the most recent deadline of September 2013 for two more design award announcements, the DOE continues to delay further commitment to SMR designs….

December 15, 2013 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

US politicians and indigenous people fight Lake Huron nuclear waste dump

Saugeen Ojibwe and U.S. Politicians Oppose Nuclear Waste Burial Near Lake Huron, Indian Country, Martha Troian12/12/13
A controversial proposal to bury nuclear waste a half mile from Lake Huron’s shoreline in Ontario is proceeding over indigenous objections in a plan that has repercussions on both sides of the U.S.–Canada border.


Opposition to the plan, which would inter low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste about 2,230 feet underground in solid rock, is sparking opposition from Indigenous Peoples and U.S. politicians alike. …… Continue reading

December 15, 2013 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Probable illegality of Britain’s nuclear subsidy throws doubt on global nuclear industry

In the wider context the deal is important because the nuclear industry’s revival in democracies depends on it being classed as a low carbon generator, which can benefit from carbon credits and other subsidies in the same way as renewables. This has already been ruled out in most democratic countries outside Europe.

UK-subsidyWithout state aid the large capital expenditure needed to build nuclear plants is hard to find from the private sector, and the time it takes to build reactors makes the return on capital long-term. Two stations being built in Finland and France are both up to seven years late and construction budgets have already doubled. They are the same design as the reactors intended for Britain.

‘Illegal UK state aid’ probe hits nuclear plans Eco Business, 14 Dec 13, An EU investigation into the UK’s financial support for new nuclear power stations is dividing Europe, with critics saying London is flouting EU rules by offering illegal subsidies.A full-scale investigation is being launched into whether Britain’s deal with French nuclear giant EDF, backed with money from Chinese nuclear generators, to build new stations at Hinkley Point in the west of England, is illegal state aid.

The investigation by the European Commission is a serious blow to the nuclear industry in Europe and across the western world, because it delays any expansion of the industry for at least a year and may possibly permanently damage its prospects. Continue reading

December 15, 2013 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Serious safety concerns about India’s nuclear industry

 some nuclear projects in India have come close to “disaster.” ….The fact that there is no clear record on accidents or potential disasters at India’s nuclear power plants raises important questions about the transparency of information on the issue.

A nuclear disaster like Fukushima would have dire consequences in heavily populated India. Memories of the Bhopal tragedy, which killed an estimated 10,000 people in 1984, are still fresh, and so is the mismanagement of the fallout by the government of the day, including letting the senior management of U.S. firm Union Carbide escape scot free.

safety-symbol-Smflag-indiaLessons from Japan for India on Nuclear Energy Fukushima has given energy-hungry India pause. Are its nuclear safety standards up to scratch? The Diplomat By Kabir Taneja  December 13, 2013 The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has become the focal point of public debate in India over the pursuit of civil nuclear energy on a large scale. The run-up to the plant’s inauguration had been marred by protests from locals and the anti-nuclear lobby, who question the safety of the plant and have taken the issue all the way to the Supreme Court……

The outcome of Fukushima has also put the spotlight on the aggressive, globally active and well-funded nuclear energy lobby. For many in Tokyo, a disaster caused largely by a tsunami triggered by an earthquake in 2011 opened a can of worms over how the government regulated its nuclear backyard. This issue of regulation has gained momentum as more and more people question the conventional wisdom of nuclear energy being a safe bet. Continue reading

December 15, 2013 Posted by | India, safety | 4 Comments

Slack security at UK’s nuclear bomb factory


Ministry of Defence security ‘asleep on the job’ guarding a nuclear bomb factory, By  Mirror, UK, 14 Dec 2013 

Up to 50 MoD police are being probed for allegedly failing to carry out vital security patrols at the 225-acre complex which builds Trident warheads.  Up to 50 Ministry of Defence police guarding a nuclear bomb factory are being probed for allegedly failing to carry out vital security patrols.

And last night it was claimed that some were sleeping on the job at the 225-acre complex which builds Trident warheads. Seven of the armed officers have resigned and others are facing disciplinary action amid claims they ignored key duties.

A source said: “At least some of the police were sleeping on the job when they missed the patrols.

“This is highly embarrassing at such a key facility.”

Peter Burt, of the Nuclear Information Service, which campaigns for nuclear safety, said: “The sheer scale of these claims are astonishing, especially given the highly sensitive nature of the complex.

“It handles radioactive materials, explosives and hazardous chemicals. ……..


December 15, 2013 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment