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Nuclear company AREVA really in a state of bankruptcy, but tax-payers will bail it out

areva-medusa1flag-franceAREVA goes from bad to worse,  nuclear giant headed for bankruptcy  Sortir du Nulcleaire , France January 4 15 , Translation by Noel Wauchope The French group AREVA, world No. 1 nuclear power is bankrupt. Its shares collapsed: they have lost 55% since the beginning of the year. Already over-indebted, AREVA’s losses for 2014 would exceed € 1 billion
The causes of this disastrous position
  • Nuclear power has become too risky and too expensive, civil nuclear is no longer sold on the world market: AREVA has not delivered a reactor for 7 years.
  • The sites of two EPR reactors in Finland and France drag on, their cost has tripled, now reaching 9 billion euro.But the Finns will not pay the additional costs and now require penalties. It’s a total  financial fiasco.
  • The delivery of nuclear fuel in Japan remains suspended because the reactors have remained closed there since the accident in Fukushima. This fuel export shortfall adds to the worsening finances of AREVA.
  • After Fukushima, Siemens left AREVA to convert to renewable energy. They held a 20% stake in the group.
  • The Uramin case in 2007: the acquisition of uranium mining in Niger, Central African Republic and Namibia, which soon proved unworkable. Between the purchase, retro-commissions and the unsuccessful operation, AREVA has accumulated € 3bn loss. The proposed remedies: the taxpayer on the front line
The state has 86% of the capital of AREVA is forced to intervene because the group provides the fuel and spare parts to our plants.
 – It could bring 2 billion by selling its shares in subsidiaries
– It plans to restructure the group by removing the CEA and by mounting a rescue company that would host the loss-making activities. This is what was done with Crédit Lyonnais: privatizing profits and nationalizing losses!
– Taxpayers will save shareholders.
– The new construction of EPR would be abandoned
Deficits, debts, dismantling and waste, that’s the legacy that nuclear leave to our children. If AREVA were a private company, it would have already filed for bankruptcy and EPR under construction would never be finished.
But AREVA is unsinkable.
The state is there to bail out this mess; we will pay our taxes, to the detriment of the development of renewable energy that could help us

January 5, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | 2 Comments

More worrying flights by drones, near France’s nuclear plant

drone-near-nuclear-plantCatch me if you can: More drones break into France’s nuclear air space Rt January 04, 2015  Two aircraft – presumably drones – were spotted flying over a French nuclear power plant on Saturday. The incident happened amid the country’s efforts aimed at detecting and intercepting such flying objects above nuclear facilities.

The latest intrusion happened at a nuclear power plant in Nogent-sur-Seine in north-central France, AFP reported on Sunday.”Around 6:40 p.m., site safety officers observed two flying objects that flew over the land reserve located on the perimeter of the nuclear plant,” a spokesman for the power station told AFP. The objects were believed to be drones, and the gendarmerie has been alerted………Drones that breach the highly-guarded plants’ area could potentially be used for gathering information that might pose a security threat: the unmanned flying objects can take pictures of film the nuclear facilities, collecting information, or even drop explosives to damage power or communications networks.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Scientists are under-reacting to the very real threats of climate change

cover-global-warmingPlaying Dumb on Climate Change, NYT,  By NAOMI ORESKESJAN. 3, 2015CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — SCIENTISTS have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.

Science is conservative, and new claims of knowledge are greeted with high degrees of skepticism……….

When applied to evaluating environmental hazards, the fear of gullibility can lead us to understate threats. It places the burden of proof on the victim rather than, for example, on the manufacturer of a harmful product. The consequence is that we may fail to protect people who are really getting hurt……….

In the case of climate change, we are not dumb at all. We know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, we know that its concentration in the atmosphere has increased by about 40 percent since the industrial revolution, and we know the mechanism by which it warms the planet.

WHY don’t scientists pick the standard that is appropriate to the case at hand, instead of adhering to an absolutist one? The answer can be found in a surprising place: the history of science in relation to religion. The 95 percent confidence limit reflects a long tradition in the history of science that valorizes skepticism as an antidote to religious faith……..

Years ago, climate scientists offered an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as the “safe” limit or ceiling for the long-term warming of the planet. We are now seeing dangerous effects worldwide, even as we approach a rise of only 1 degree Celsius. The evidence is mounting that scientists have underpredicted the threat. Perhaps this is another reason — along with our polarized politics and the effect of fossil-fuel lobbying — we have underreacted to the reality, now unfolding before our eyes, of dangerous climate change.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Debunking the claims of the thorium nuclear lobby

If Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) s are used to ‘burn up’ waste from conventional reactors, their fuel now comprises 238U, 235U, 239Pu, 240Pu and other actinides.

Operated in this way, what is now a mixed-fuel molten salt reactor will breed plutonium (from 238U) and other long lived actinides, perpetuating the plutonium cycle.

Thorium-pie-in-skyHow Much Safer Would Thorium Based Nuclear Power Be? January 4, 2015 | By News Junkie Uploaded by Alchemist-hp via Free Art License 1.3 (FAL 1.3)

highly-recommendedAccording to Oliver Tickell, not much:

Numerous advantages for thorium as a nuclear fuel and for the LFTR design over conventional solid fuel reactors have been claimed. In this section we consider each of these claims in turn.
3.1 Abundance of thorium relative to uranium
Claim: Thorium is several times more abundant in the Earth’s crust than uranium.
Response: Thorium (232Th) is indeed more abundant than uranium, by a factor of three to four. But whereas 0.7% of uranium occurs as fissile 235U, none of the thorium is fissile. The world already possesses an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of depleted uranium (mainly 238U), like thorium a fertile but non-fissile material. So the greater abundance of thorium than uranium confers no advantage, other than a very marginal advantage in energy security to those countries in which it is abundant.
3.2 Relative utility of thorium and uranium as fuel
Claim: 100% of the thorium is usable as fuel, in contrast to the low (~0.7%) proportion of fissile 235U in natural uranium.
Response: Thorium must be subjected to neutron irradiation to be transformed into a fissile material suitable for nuclear fuel (uranium, 233U). The same applies to the 238U that makes up depleted uranium, which as already observed, is plentiful. In theory, 100% of either metal could be bred into nuclear fuel. However, uranium has a strong head start, as 0.7% of it is fissile (235U) in its naturally-occurring form.
3.3 Nuclear weapons proliferation
Claim: thorium reactors do not produce plutonium, and so create little or no proliferation hazard.
Response: thorium reactors do not produce plutonium. But an LFTR could (by including 238U in the fuel) be adapted to produce plutonium of a high purity well above normal weapons-grade, presenting a major proliferation hazard. Beyond that, the main proliferation hazards arise from:
the need for fissile material (plutonium or uranium) to initiate the thorium fuel cycle, which could be diverted, and
the production of fissile uranium 233U.Claim: the fissile uranium (233U) produced by thorium reactors is not “weaponisable” owing to the presence of highly radiotoxic 232U as a contaminant. Response: 233U was successfully used in a 1955 bomb test in the Nevada Desert under the USA’s Operation Teapot and so is clearly weaponisable notwithstanding

any 232U present. Moreover, the continuous pyro-processing / electro-refining technologies intrinsic to MSRs / LFTRs could generate streams of 233U very low in 232U at a purity well above weapons grade as currently defined.
3.4 Safety
Claim: LFTRs are intrinsically safe, because the reactor operates at low pressure and is and incapable of melting down.
Response: the design of molten salt reactors does indeed mitigate against reactor meltdown and explosion. However, in an LFTR the main danger has been shifted from the reactor to the on-sitecontinuous fuel reprocessing operation – a high temperature process involving highly hazardous, explosive and intensely radioactive materials. A further serious hazard lies in the potential failure of the materials used for reactor and fuel containment in a highly corrosive chemical environment, under intense neutron and other radiation.
3.5 State of technology
Claim: the technology is already proven.
Response: important elements of the LFTR technology were proven during the 1970s Molten SaltBreeder Reactor (MSBR) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. However, this was a small research reactor rated at just 7MW and there are huge technical and engineering challenges in scaling up this experimental design to make a ‘production’ reactor. Specific challenges include:
developing materials that can both resist corrosion by liquid fluoride salts including diverse fission products, and withstand decades of intense neutron radiation;
scaling up fuel reprocessing techniques to deal safely and reliably with large volumes of highly radioactive material at very high temperature;
keeping radioactive releases from the reprocessing operation to an acceptably low level;
achieving a full understanding of the thorium fuel cycle.
3.6 Nuclear waste
Claim: LFTRs produce far less nuclear waste than conventional solid fuel reactors.
Response: LFTRs are theoretically capable of a high fuel burn-up rate, but while this may indeed reduce the volume of waste, the waste is more radioactive due to the higher volume of radioactive fission products. The continuous fuel reprocessing that is characteristic of LFTRs will also produce hazardous chemical and radioactive waste streams, and releases to the environment will be unavoidable.
Claim: Liquid fluoride thorium reactors generate no high-level waste material.
Response: This claim, although made in the report from the House of Lords, has no basis in fact. High-level waste is an unavoidable product of nuclear fission. Spent fuel from any LFTR will be intensely radioactive and constitute high level waste. The reactor itself, at the end of its lifetime, will constitute high level waste.

Claim: the waste from LFTRs contains very few long-lived isotopes, in particular transuranic actinides such as plutonium. 

Response: the thorium fuel cycle does indeed produce very low volumes of plutonium and other long-lived actinides so long as only thorium and 233U are used as fuel. However, the waste contains many radioactive fission products and will remain dangerous for many hundreds of years. A particular hazard is the production of 232U, with its highly radio-toxic decay chain.

Claim: LFTRs can ‘burn up’ high level waste from conventional nuclear reactors, and stockpiles of plutonium.
Response: if LFTRs are used to ‘burn up’ waste from conventional reactors, their fuel now comprises 238U, 235U, 239Pu, 240Pu and other actinides. Operated in this way, what is now a mixed-fuel molten salt reactor will breed plutonium (from 238U) and other long lived actinides, perpetuating the plutonium cycle.
3.7 Cost of electricity
Claim: the design of LFTRs tends towards low construction cost and very cheap electricity.
Response: while some elements of LFTR design may cut costs compared to conventional reactors, other elements will add cost, notably the continuous fuel reprocessing using high-temperature ‘pyro-processing’ technologies. Moreover, a costly experimental phase of ~20-40 years duration will be required before any ‘production’ LFTR reactors can be built.
It is very hard to predict the cost of the technology that finally emerges, but the economics of nuclear fuel reprocessing to date suggests that the nuclear fuel produced from breeder reactors is about 50 times more expensive than ‘virgin’ fuel. It therefore appears probable that any electricity produced from LFTRs will be expensive.
We must also consider the prospect that relatively novel or immature energy sources, such as photovoltaic electricity and photo-evolved hydrogen, will have become well established as low-cost technologies long before LFTRs are in the market.
3.8 Timescale
Claim: Thorium and the LFTR offer a solution to current and medium-term energy supply deficits.
Response: The thorium fuel cycle is immature. Estimates from the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (see 4.2 below) suggest that 10-15 years of research will be needed before thorium fuels are ready to be deployed in existing reactor designs. Production LFTRs will not be deployable on any significant scale for 40-70 years.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Many Japanese municipalities near offline nuclear plants are not happy with the nuclear restart plan

Poll shows local governments split on how to restart nuclear reactors, Japan Times, KYODO JAN 4, 2015 Only about 20 percent of 160 prefectural and municipal governments that host or are located near nuclear plants support how a utility company in Kagoshima Prefecture went about getting the go-ahead for restarting its nuclear reactors, a Kyodo News poll showed Sunday……..

In November, Kyushu Electric Power Co. won consent from the Kagoshima Prefectural Government and the city of Satsumasendai for the restart of two nuclear reactors at its Sendai plant in the prefecture, which means the two reactors will become the first of the country’s 48 offline commercial reactors to resume operation.

In a survey conducted on 21 prefectures and 139 municipalities that are located within a 30-km radius of nuclear reactors, only 35 said the procedure adopted by Kyushu Electric — seeking the consent only of the host prefecture and host municipality — was appropriate.

While 55 municipalities or about 30 percent said the method taken by Kyushu Electric at the Sendai plant was not appropriate, 70 avoided clear-cut answers, including those that said they do not know.

None of the 55 municipalities host nuclear reactors.

Although the central government appears to back the way Kyushu Electric limited seeking approval to only the host prefecture and municipality concerned, the survey suggests that many municipalities near offline nuclear plants do not necessarily favor such a narrow approach…….

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

USA and Russia ramping up nuclear weapons rivalry

boys-with-toysUS and Russia in danger of returning to era of nuclear rivalry ,  Guardian, 5 Jan 15 American threats to retaliate for Russian development of new cruise missile take tensions to new level. A widening rift between Moscow and Washington over cruise missiles and increasingly daring patrols by nuclear-capable Russian submarines threatens to end an era of arms control and bring back a dangerous rivalry between the world’s two dominant nuclear arsenals.

Tensions have been taken to a new level by US threats of retaliatory action for Russian development of a new cruise missile. Washington alleges it violates one of the key arms control treaties of the cold war, and has raised the prospect of redeploying its own cruise missiles in Europe after a 23-year absence.

On Boxing Day, in one of the more visible signs of the unease, the US military launched the first of two experimental “blimps” over Washington. The system, known as JLENS, is designed to detect incoming cruise missiles. The North American Aerospace Command (Norad) did not specify the nature of the threat, but the deployment comes nine months after the Norad commander, General Charles Jacoby, admitted the Pentagon faced “some significant challenges” in countering cruise missiles, referring in particular to the threat of Russian attack submarines.

Those submarines, which have been making forays across the Atlantic, routinely carry nuclear-capable cruise missiles. In the light of aggressive rhetoric from Moscow and the expiry of treaty-based restrictions, there is uncertainty over whether those missiles are now carrying nuclear warheads.

The rise in tension comes at a time when the arms control efforts of the post-cold-war era are losing momentum. The number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the US and Russia actually increased last year, and both countries are spending many billions of dollars a year modernising their arsenals. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and a failing economy, Vladimir Putin is putting increasing emphasis on nuclear weapons as guarantors and symbols of Russian influence. In a speech primarily about the Ukrainian conflict last summer, Putin pointedly referred to his country’s nuclear arsenal and declared other countries “should understand it’s best not to mess with us”…………

Reintroducing cruise missiles into Europe would be politically fraught and divisive, but the Republican majority in Congress is pushing for a much more robust American response to the Russian missile.

The US military has also been rattled by the resurgence of the Russian submarine fleet. Moscow is building new generations of giant ballistic missile submarines, known as “boomers”, and attack submarines that are equal or superior to their US counterparts in performance and stealth. From a low point in 2002, when the Russian navy managed to send out no underwater patrols at all, it is steadily rebounding and reasserting its global reach.

There have been sporadic reports in the US press about Russian submarines reaching the American east coast, which have been denied by the US military. But last year Jacoby, the head of Norad and the US northern command at the time, admitted concerns about being able to counter new Russian investment in cruise missile technology and advanced submarines.

“They have just begun production of a new class of quiet nuclear submarines specifically designed to deliver cruise missiles,” Jacoby told Congress……………….

With both the US and Russia modernising their arsenals and Russia investing increasing importance its nuclear deterrent, Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, said we are facing a period of “deepening military competition”.

He added: “It will bring very little added security, but a lot more nervous people on both sides.”

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Plutonium from Fukushima in the Pacific Ocean

VIDEO: Fukushima corium found in Pacific — Flowing into ocean after hydrogen dissolves nuclear fuel — Scientist: We’ve actually seen plutonium floating on surface; “We have no control over this accident… they’ve got leaks everywhere”

2014 Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (final link at bottom of page), K. Buesseler, E. Black, and S. Pike of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; T. Kenna of Lamont-Doherty Earth Obseratory; P. Masqué of Autonomous University of Barcelona, Sept 12, 2014 (emphasis added): Plutonium Isotopes In The Ocean Off Japan After Fukushima— The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants (NPPs) are known to be an unprecedented accidental source of 137Cs, 134Cs and other volatile radionuclides to the ocean. Much less is known however about the extent of input of refractory radionuclides such as plutonium to the environment. Limited available data from land soils and vegetation, suggest at least some atmospheric delivery of particulate Pu… In 2011, in surface ocean waters, we found ratios 240Pu/239Pu >0.3, which implies a component of Fukushima Pu had been delivered to the ocean… Fukushima derived Pu was not found deeper in the water column.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Science Made Public — Fukushima Radiation:

  • 51:00 — Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole  senior scientist: People have a hard time with radiation risk because we can’t taste it, we can’t smell it… we have no control over this accident.
  • 5900 – QuestionI’m wondering about the corium and whether anything you’ve detected in the water is coming form the core, the meltdown?
  • 59:30– Buesseler: Great question… What I’m thinking of are things like plutonium uranium, the fuel itself… We’ve actually seen, I’d say a trace amount of plutonium, I’ve seen two talks on that… It doesn’t come out as a gas, it’s in the ocean, probably because of all that cooling water they put on there. Hydrogen makes it very acidic… it dissolves some of the materials and bring that back into the ocean… We haven’t yet taken that into the seafood… [It] may have come out in the hot acidic water, that’s been — still to this day btw – they’re putting on 100s of tons of water a day to cool those reactors and only recovering about half of that water… They have to cool that thing for decades, for years certainly and that takes water and they’ve got leaks everywhere.

Watch the presentation here

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, oceans | 1 Comment

Japan’s power companies resist govt call to make safer storage for spent nuclear fuel

Utilities balk at safer storage of spent nuclear fuel to avoid ‘wasted investment’ by Ryuta Koike and Toshio Kawada. January 04, 2015 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN Power companies have resisted government calls to construct safer storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel and are instead waiting for a fuel reprocessing plant to finally start running after nearly two decades of delays.

The utilities say that building dry storage facilities, which hold spent nuclear fuel encased in metal or concrete casks, could prove a waste of money if the Rokkasho reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture begins operations and takes all the spent fuel off their hands.

They also cite concerns in communities that host nuclear reactors that dry storage facilities could lead to permanent storage there.

Under Japan’s basic energy plan approved by the Cabinet in April last year, the central government promotes the construction and use of dry storage facilities.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has repeatedly referred to the importance of such facilities, which are deemed safer and less expensive to operate than the traditional method of keeping spent nuclear fuel submerged in storage pools at nuclear plant.

Spent fuel pools are usually located next to reactors for swift transport because the fuel rods continue to be highly radioactive and emit heat after use.

The risk of using storage pools was exposed when all power sources were lost at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, not only had to deal with three reactor meltdowns, but it was also forced to take measures to prevent the release of radiation from spent fuel storage pools at the site.


Under the dry storage method, the encased spent fuel is cooled with circulating air at a facility built separate from the reactor building. Dry storage is mainly used for spent fuel whose radioactive decay heat has already dropped to a certain level.

One big advantage that dry storage has over storage pools is that it can continue to cool spent fuel even after a power failure in the event of a nuclear accident or natural disaster.

In fact, spent fuel in a dry storage facility at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant did not suffer any major damage in the 2011 disaster, according to TEPCO.

The only other nuclear power station currently equipped with a dry storage facility within its plant site is Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Chubu Electric Power Co. plans to set up a dry storage facility at its Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture in fiscal 2018. That plan was hatched before the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But no other utility in Japan has moved in that direction despite the government’s urging………..

The biggest reason the utilities are hesitant to build dry storage facilities is that the government has kept alive the Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing plant project, despite its many problems.

According to the project, the Rokkasho plant will take in the utilities’ spent nuclear fuel and reprocess it for reuse at nuclear reactors around Japan.

The Rokkasho plant was originally scheduled to open in 1997. However, the start of operations has been delayed 21 times because of technical glitches, human error and safety issues.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., operator of the Rokkasho plant, has postponed the completion date to March 2016.

Still, electric power companies do not want to spend on dry storage facilities now because they believe the plant will start running and alleviate them of their spent fuel problems.

“Even if we build a dry storage facility, it would likely be a wasted investment,” said an official in the nuclear power industry, alluding to the Rokkasho plant.

The utilities say they are also concerned that building dry storage facilities could stoke fears among nearby residents and local officials that hazardous spent fuel would remain in their neighborhoods for a prolonged period……..

Tadahiro Katsuta, associate professor of nuclear energy policy at Meiji University, said the central government should provide incentives to spur utilities to shift to dry storage facilities.

“When the safety of a nuclear plant is at issue, it is obvious that dry storage is more reliable (than pools) since it does not require emergency measures to safeguard the facility in the event of an accident,” Katsuta said. “Financial benefits and setting a limit on the storage period should be considered.”

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

The fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership gets more serious in 2015

 It Was a Pivotal Year in TPP Activism but the Biggest Fight Is Still to Come: 2014 in Review  JANUARY 4, 2015 | BY MAIRA SUTTONA draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter from May 2014leaked this past fall, confirming what previous leaks had suggested: this so-called trade agreement would bring copyright enforcement provisions that threaten users’ right to free expression, privacy, and unfettered access to knowledge online.

This leaked text also revealed new terms on the misuse of trade secrets. These are dangerously vague and could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through an allegedly confidential “computer system.” This language could have alarming consequences if it obligates nations to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistleblowers. I

t’s no wonder TPP negotiations continued to be as secretive as ever this year—policymakers are taking advantage of back-room policymaking to criminalize the very people who help public interest groups like EFF understand what’s contained in these agreements.

The major fight in the US was a campaign to defeat “fast track.” Fast track authority, also known as trade promotion authority, is a legal mechanism whereby Congress hands its Constitutional mandate to set the agenda and negotiate the terms of trade agreements over to Obama and the US Trade Representative. If fast track passes, the US Trade Representative could pass agreements like TPP and other deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with even less public oversight. In January, two of the most Hollywood-friendly Senators introduced it in a bill called the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act.

Following a joint effort with various public interest groups and individuals across the country, we collectively sent hundreds of thousands of messages to US lawmakers, calling on them to oppose fast track. We helped convince some leading Senators to come out against it and the bill eventually fizzled. But another fast track bill was inevitable, so we continued our campaign.Digital rights organizations were joined by over 25 technology companies to call on US lawmakers to oppose the passage of fast track authority. Then in September, we delivered a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden to fix the secretive, Hollywood-captured trade process.

2014 was a major year in our fight against TPP, but we’re expecting it will all come to a head in the new year. Public statements from the White House and Republican lawmakers have reiterated their resolve to introduce and pass new fast track legislation in the coming months. At the same time, the US Trade Representative has hinted that it plans to finalize the TPP in 2015.

While we keep the pressure on lawmakers to oppose fast track next year, we’re going to continue our call to TPP negotiators to follow the EU’s lead to bring transparency to trade negotiations once and for all. Stopping TPP is about stopping what has, up until this point, seemed like an endless cycle of corporate-dominated back-room policy laundering. We’ve so far been successful in slowing down the progress of TPP, but when the ultimate showdown arrives, we‘ll all need to be ready to fight.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Radiation spike at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant – facts not clear

Map-Ukraine-nuke-reactorsTV: Documents reveal radiation spike at world’s fifth largest nuclear plant — Reuters: Officials “could not comment” if documents are authentic; Report says radiation levels measured at 16 times gov’t limit after leak (VIDEO)

TeleSUR (TV network funded by Argentina, Bolivia, etc)
, Dec 30, 2014: Alleged Radioactive Leak at Biggest Nuclear Plant in Europe — Ukrainian authorities deny any increase radioactive levels… Reuters [has not] been able so far to independently verify the documents [which] stated that the radiation levels had significantly raised – over 16 times the permitted limit – one day after the incident… Another unit had also been switched off [at the] end November after a short circuit, leading to an intervention from the [IAEA]. Ukrainian authorities waited five days to disclose the information…Reuters, Dec 30, 2014: Ukraine denies radioactive leak on Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant — Ukrainian authorities denied on Tuesday a report in pro-Kremlin media… Life News newswire published documents which it said came from Ukraine’s emergencies ministry and showed that a leak at the power plant had led to a spike in radiation over the past two days exceeding permitted norms by 16 times… “there have been no accidents,” said an energy ministry official. The officials could not comment if documents published by Life News were authentic. Reuters was not able to verify the documents…

PressTV, Dec 31, 2014: A new report reveals that radiation from Ukraine’s Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant has exceeded the norm by 16 times. According to a leaked document by Ukraine’s State Service for Emergency Situations, Ukrainian nuclear scientists misinformed the public and the media about the real state of affairs.

PressTV, Dec 31, 2014: Radioactive leak alleged at Ukraine nuclear plant… amid an official denial. The leak at Ukraine’s Zaporozhye Power Plant was reported Tuesday by Russia-based LifeNews… a 24-hour television channel and news website.

Life News, Dec 30, 2014 (Google Translation): State Service for Emergency Situations… Dec 28… radiation background 4.90 mSv/yr… 16.3 times higher than the acceptable norm… Dec 29… 5.05 mSv/yr.

ZIK (Western Information Agency), Dec 31, 2014: Radiation leak at Zaporizhya NPP – another Moscow’s stunt… According to Putin’s docile mouthpiece, Lifenews Russia Today, the Ukrainian government is keeping the actual radiation level secret… Experts say the Moscow-generated stunt… was caused by the signing by Ukraine of a sales contract with Westinghouse…

TASS (Russian News Agency), Dec 30, 2014: Experts fear the sharp switch from Russian-to US-produced nuclear fuel as it… could threaten safety both at the domestic level and in Europe as well, the Russian Foreign Ministry said… “Consequences of possible accidents and meltdowns will be in the full responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities and US suppliers.”

Press Release, Dec 30, 2014: Westinghouse… agreed to significantly increase fuel deliveries to Ukrainian nuclear power plants… “secure nuclear fuel supplies for Ukraine’s reactor fleet.”

Watch PressTV’s broadcast here

January 5, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Uranium stocks are a ‘house of cards’

cliff-money-nuclearUranium stock price tanks By Gena Parkhurst on Jan 2, 2015  For some time now, I’ve been reading in the Rapid City Journal about the ISL uranium mine that Azarga Uranium Corp. (formerly known as Powertech) proposes building at the Dewey-Burdock site between Custer and Edgemont. I wish it had been reported what a financial house-of-cards this penny stock really is. As a shareholder, I am very disappointed in the performance of the shares. Just over a year ago, I purchased shares at what appeared to be a bargain price of 10 cents. After all, previous investors paid as much as $4.45 per share. My “bargain” 10-cent shares are now worth almost 70 percent less than what I paid.

According to a recent Senate report, Goldman Sachs, the biggest trading firm on Wall Street, will wind down its uranium trading business. The South China Morning Post recently reported that the price of uranium is too low for new mines to begin operating, and that global supply will exceed demand well into the next decade.

Azarga’s CEO claims the company’s mine at Dewey-Burdock will be up and running by 2016. The old adage “buyer beware” may be applicable if you are considering buying this penny stock.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

President Rouhani is preparing public opinion and hard-liners for a nuclear deal

RouhaniIran’s president calls for end to isolation, urges nuclear deal By RAMIN MOSTAGHIM AND MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE  LA TIMES, 4 JAN 15 contact the reporter Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called international nuclear negotiations a matter of “heart” on Sunday, and said Iran needed to end its political isolation to allow its economy to grow.

Rouhani made his remarks to a conference of 1,500 economists in Tehran, Iran’s Fars news agency said. The speech, delivered before nuclear talks resume next week in Geneva, appeared to be an attempt to stave off criticism from hard-liners while demonstrating a willingness to work with international powers………

Anti-Western hawks in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who report to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lead companies that have benefited from sanctions and have been wary of nuclear negotiations.

With Sunday’s speech, Rouhani paved the way for a nuclear deal in coming months, raising the specter of referendums to head off criticism from conservatives, said Tehran political analyst Nader Karimi Juni.

“President Rouhani is preparing public opinion and hard-liners for the deal to happen,” Juni said, sending a signal that “the number of centrifuges and enrichment levels are not red lines for Iran.”…….

January 5, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Chna’s revolutionary programme for renewable energy

flag-ChinaChina as a model renewable energy economy By Li Hejun, China New Energy Chamber of Commerce and Hanergy Holding Group  31 Dec 14  Almost 200 governments met in Peru this month to hammer out a first draft of a global deal to cut emissions, ahead of a new round of climate talks next year in Paris. If the world is to arrest climate change, global economies need to embrace renewable energy. Those looking for a model of how this might be done should consider a possibly surprising source: China.

It has been little noticed by the outside world, but in China a technological revolution that will result in huge gains in efficiency and new applications for renewable energy has already begun…….

China’s renewable energy goals are not simply hot air. The country’s leadership recognises that China must break its dependency on coal if it is to satisfy the surging power demands of a growing middle class and an expanding economy without blanketing the country in smog. China’s renewable energy goals are also necessary for the country’s long-term energy security. Neither coal, shale gas nor any other fossil fuel can secure our energy future………

The new goals will trigger a huge investment push towards renewables. The scale of the new generating capacity to be installed in the next decade will reshape China’s renewable energy market, weeding out weak companies as the government gradually phases out subsidies, and driving gains in efficiency and technological innovation as the remaining industry players compete for market share.

I believe that solar will be at the forefront of this technological advance. Solar energy is fast becoming more affordable. The cost for solar power generation is now 50 per cent lower than it was three years ago. China’s cost of solar power generation has fallen to below Rmb1 per kWh and if we continue that trend, I predict that within 3-5 years the generation cost of solar cells will approach that of coal-fired power…………..


January 5, 2015 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

New solar farms for Pacific Island countries

masdar-solar-wind-projectsMore Solar For Pacific Island Nations December 31, 2014 Energy Matters

Construction has commenced on four new solar farms in the Pacific island countries of Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; financed under the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development’s US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.

The solar power projects will collectively have 1.8 megawatts capacity and their output will translate to fuel savings worth US$2 million per year. Many island nations in the Pacific rely primarily on diesel imports for electricity generation. It’s expensive, carbon intensive and creates dependence on external suppliers for what is a critical service.

Pacific Island nations can spend 10 percent of GDP or more on petroleum imports, so renewables can also free up government budgets for infrastructure investments

Completion of the solar farms is expected by the second half of 2015.

The projects will be constructed by Masdar, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government-owned Mubadala Development Company.

“Access to clean energy is a pathway toward economic and social development,” said Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar. “For Pacific islands, which rely on imported fuel for electricity generation, renewable energy provides a viable alternative. In fact, wind and solar power projects deliver immediate savings, while underpinning long-term energy security.”

Masdar has already been active in the region; building the La’a Lahi ‘Big Sun’ 512kW solar farm in Tonga and Samoa’s first wind farm, which was commissioned in August this year. Both of these projects were also financed through the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.

The 550kW wind farm in Samoa is located on the island of Upolu; which is home to nearly 75 percent of the population. The cyclone-proof facility will generate 1,500 MWh of power per year

The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March last year and has so far helped fund 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy capacity across six countries in the region.

“The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund demonstrates the tangible benefits that renewable energy offers all developing countries,” said His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. “Today, renewables are cost-effective and offer real solutions for growth across the Pacific.”


January 5, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

USA government should fund safety of radiological materials, not fund more nuclear weapons

Government should eliminate, not modernize, nuclear arsenal Use funding to secure radiological materials By Theresa Shaffer Buffalo News 5 Jan 15 Cheating on required monthly exams, low morale and security lapses are all problems that have been cited in missile facilities across the United States. At the third Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons Conference held in Vienna, Austria, last month, Eric Schlosser, an investigative journalist and author of “Command and Control,” emphasized that it’s a miracle there hasn’t been a catastrophic accident involving nuclear weapons yet. “The problem with luck,” he said, “is that eventually it runs out.”

Schlosser provided one example out of a thousand mishaps that have occurred. In Goldsboro, N.C., in 1961, two hydrogen bombs fell out of a B-52 bomber when the plane went into a tailspin. Three of the four safety mechanisms in one of those bombs become unlocked as it plunged to the ground. Fortunately, the last switch prevented the full detonation of a 4-megaton hydrogen bomb.

With all of this in mind, it’s clear that something needs to be done to address the serious issues undermining the safety of our nuclear arsenal.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who recently resigned, suggested that the United States inject billions of dollars into modernizing these facilities and retraining staff. However, the 2015 “CRomnibus” appropriations bill does not accomplish these things.

President Obama has repeatedly stated the need to secure radiological material worldwide in order to prevent a terrorist or criminal from fabricating a dirty bomb. Yet in this omnibus bill, funding to combat the proliferation of nuclear materials to terrorists and criminals was cut by 17 percent from 2014, while at the same time spending on nuclear weapons increased by 5 percent from last year. It seems like Hagel’s suggestion isn’t securing anything but more procurement for the Department of Defense.

A better idea to resolve the safety issues affecting our nuclear arsenal is to use those funds to secure and eliminate radiological materials worldwide and to work on getting rid of nuclear weapons rather than injecting more money into making new ones.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that $355 billion will be spent on modernizing the nation’s nuclear forces from 2014 to 2023. Pressure should be placed on the incoming Congress to reduce spending on nuclear weapons in the 2016 budget, since these weapons pose more of a risk than an asset.

At the Vienna conference, the Arms Control Association – along with Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Federation of American Scientists, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research – delivered a statement suggesting four practical ways Obama can work to “reduce global nuclear dangers and move us closer to the elimination of all nuclear weapons:”

• Diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons.

• U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons cuts and freeze other nations’ stockpiles.

• Convene nuclear disarmament summits.

• Follow through on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty…………

January 5, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment