nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The week in nuclear and climate news

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

Climate Change.

Media.  Anti nuclear allies: the terrorist victims  – cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.    Journalists’ self-censorship – avoiding hard topics for fear of government surveillance

Militarism. Gorbachev Says NATO Expansion Into Ukraine Could Ignite Nuclear War.  The nuclear dangers in Ukraine energy wars – don’t miss the full article!

Japan Nuclear policy: the big divide in Japanese society. Fukushima: Environmental problems remain after the Fukushima nuclear disaster  Pacific Ocean research. Fukushima fallout has a distinctive “fingerprint”

Iran. Rouhani’s and Obama’s difficult path towards a nuclear compromise.

UK: The Sellafield mess

USA Nuclear industry braces for an even tougher year in 2015.  Entergy can’t afford, for decades, to dismantle Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant. USA’s nuclear industry’s future in doubt – as shown in the costs of Exelon’s New York reactor

Renewable energy: New resource for renewable energy information – REsource, from IRENA.  Wind power record set by Denmark as it heads towards fossil-free goal

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Futaba town accepts interim storage facilities

The Japanese government’s plan to build intermediate storage facilities for radioactive waste from the 2011 nuclear accident is set to move ahead, now that the candidate sites have accepted the plan.

The government wants to build facilities for storing contaminated soil and debris on a 16-square-kilometer site straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture. The 2 towns host the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Okuma accepted the plan last month. The mayor of Futaba made the same decision on Tuesday in Iwaki city, where most of the town’s residents have evacuated.

Those in favor of accepting the intermediate storage facilities say they will help speed up decontamination efforts in the region.

But others cite the risk of the intermediate facilities becoming permanent unless the government fulfills its promise to dispose of nuclear waste outside the prefecture.

The government plans to continue purchase negotiations with the site’s landowners. It is also working out safety arrangements with the prefecture and the 2 towns for the transportation of radioactive waste to the facilities.

Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa said acceptance of the government’s plan is an unavoidable part of accelerating post-disaster rebuilding.

Source: NHK

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150113_26.html

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | 1 Comment

Pope Francis to be a formidable force in the battle against climate change

he has been invited by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, to address the general assembly of the UN on the issue.

PopeClimate-change encyclical may lay ground for UN progress http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/climatechange-encyclical-may-lay-ground-for-un-progress-20150113-12n3u2.html January 14, 2015  Neil Ormerod This is the year the Catholic Church will join the battle to save the planet; as Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, stated, “2015 could be a decisive year in history”.

From the start of his pontificate Pope Francis indicated his intention to publish an encyclical on the environment. Encyclicals are the most authoritative documents a pope can issue, and it has become increasingly clear that global warming will be its central theme.

Previous popes – both John Paul II and Benedict XVI – referred to the environment and climate change in various communications, and committed the Vatican City to being carbon neutral, but this will be the first time a pope will have dedicated an entire encyclical to it.

The forthcoming encyclical could be compared with the first major encyclical on Catholic social teaching, Rerum Novarum, issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891. Faced with the emerging labour union movement, Leo’s encyclical provided both encouragement for,  and an endorsement of Catholic engagement with,  unions. It provided a moral legitimation for unions as a response to the widespread exploitation of labour in the workplace.

So too the promised encyclical on the environment will provide both encouragement for, and a call to Catholics to engage with, the environmental movement. It will throw the moral authority of the Catholic Church behind the movement and commit the church to ongoing contributions to the environmental debate. Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

UK’s Sellafield clean-up mess: Amec, Areva and URS stripped of £20bn contract

money-in-nuclear--wastesflag-UKSellafield nuclear clean-up firms to be stripped of £20bn contract, Telegraph UK  Management of Britain’s most toxic nuclear waste site expected to be taken back into state hands as heavily-criticised consortium of Amec, Areva and URS is stripped of its contract By , Energy Editor 12 Jan 2015 Nuclear waste clean-up operations at Sellafield are expected to be taken back into state hands, as the private consortium managing the Cumbrian site is stripped of its £20bn contract.

The Government’s decision to axe Nuclear Management Partners (NMP), comprised of Britain’s Amec, France’s Areva and America’s URS, is expected to be formally announced on Tuesday, six years into a 17-year contract to work on decommissioning the site.

Ministers surprised many by shying away from an opportunity to cancel NMP’s contract at a formal “break point” last year, despite criticism of the consortium by the National Audit Office (NAO) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over a series of failings.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had said it was considering taking the management of Sellafield back into state hands, an option that would have required ministerial approval.

However, there were doubts about how state management of the nuclear site, the UK’s biggest and most hazardous, would work in practice. It is thought a plan has now been drawn up and the NDA will exercise its right to terminate NMP’s contract “for convenience” with 12 months’ notice.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed only that the NDA and Government had been working on “alternative options at Sellafield”……..

the costs of the clean-up have since spiralled and annual spending at the site last year was £1.8bn, implying the remaining 11 years of the contract would be worth £20bn.

NMP earns tens of millions of pounds each year for managing the multi-billion pound operations.

Lifetime costs for decommissioning Sellafield, which is likely to take more than 100 years, were last year estimated to have risen to in excess of £79bn, but the NDA warned at the time that the total would rise further.

The NAO and PAC both criticised delays and cost overruns in NMP’s management Sellafield, where failings also included accidentally sending radioactive waste to a landfill site, resulting in a £700,000 fine………http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11340733/Sellafield-nuclear-clean-up-firms-to-be-stripped-of-20bn-contract.html

January 14, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear allies: the terrorist victims cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo

Slain cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were allies of anti-nuclear movement http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2015/1/8/slain-cartoonists-at-charlie-hebdo-were-allies-of-anti-nucle.html We pause today to remember those slain at the French satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo. Several of the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdowere close allies of the French anti-nuclear movement, even providing cartoons to the French anti-nuclear network, “Sortir du nucléaire.”

Stéphane Charbonnier, its editor in chief, drew many cartoons lampooning the nuclear industry. (One Charlie-Hebdo-2
example is pictured at right. It reads: “What could one do without nuclear? Live.”) Charb, as he was known by his pen name, participated in opposition to both nuclear power and nuclear weapons. He was among the 12 killed.
Charlie-Hebdo-1Another Hebdostaffer, Fabrice Nicolino, who was wounded but we are told will survive, was the author of the brilliant special edition of Charlie Hebdo focusing on nuclear power and called The Nuclear Swindle (cover pictured left). In it, Nicolino, an author and environmental journalist, pointed out that nuclear power is a hold-up, with democracy as the spoils. The assassination of the 12 people atCharlie Hebdo, and the injuring of others, was also an assault on democracy. Tens of thousands rallied the same night in Paris and elsewhere, holding vigil for the victims and for freedom

January 14, 2015 Posted by | France, media | Leave a comment

India should not buy Russia’s unsafe nuclear reactors

Russian-Bearflag-indiaReactors from Russia are unsafe and unreliable, India shouldn’t buy them: Russian environmentalist Vladimir SlivyakDiaNuke.org, 9 Jan 15  DiaNuke.org interviewed the eminent environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak whose group EcoDefense has been facing repression in Russia for exposing the lack of nuclear safety and environmental impacts. His report on the status of nuclear industry in Russia, prepared on the request of an environmental group in Africa which is also an important market that the Russian nuclear giant Atomsroyexport is eyeing, has been published recently.

The Russian President in his recent visit to New Delhi, offered 21 more reactors to India. Why is the Russian nuclear industry is in such hurry when there is a global shift away from nuclear after Fukushima?

Unfortunately, Russia hasen’t learnt any lessons from Fukushima. Development of nuclear power industry remains the priority for Russian government……..

It is also about making other countries dependent on Russian services and supplies, including nuclear fuel and also so called treatment of high-level radioactive waste, such as spent nuclear fuel, which is usually taken back to Russia. Making someone dependent in such a sensitive field as nuclear power, where not many producers existing, has global political importance for Russian authorities……….

Rosatom promises are far bigger than its technical capability to build reactors. The only explanation I can think of is that they don’t believe that all these reactors will be actually ordered. And Rosatom’ $100billion portfolio is not about real orders actually. It looks great on paper and allows Rosatom managers to report about big success to the government and continue to benefit from big governmental subsidies. But let’s see how their promises are interacting with reality. Couple of years ago there was contract signed with Vietnam and it was said publicly construction will start soon. And last year it appeared that this plan is postponed until 2020. Contract with Turkey was signed before Vietnam and reported to be another big breakthrough, but no construction started until now. And the most of so-called “orders” of Rosatom in other countries are, in fact, not real contracts, but just talks and wishful thinking. Rosatom often gives away totally unreliable information on new reactors, and it was many times proven to be false.

It doesn’t mean Rosatom is not capable of building reactors in India at all. Rather it means that if they do, they would have to postpone many other plans for long, they will try to do it as fast as possible which will likely affect safety of new reactors.

We often hear from the Russian Ambassador and the industry leaders from Russia visiting India that the Russian reactors are safest in the world. What is your take?

Rosatom is promoting its new reactor design, the VVER-TOI, to international customers even though this design has never been tested in practical operation in Russia. No assessments of this design have been done by independent experts, either. It remains unclear if safety has been improved in the new design, as Rosatom claims. But even industry experts put Rosatom’s claims of increased safety in doubt and argue over the effectiveness of new safety systems.

Existing Russian reactors, likewise, do not demonstrate a high level of safety………http://www.dianuke.org/russian-reactors-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-india-shouldnt-buy-them-russian-environmentalist-vladimir-slivyak/

January 14, 2015 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

 Lobbyists try to build a head of steam for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

 Small-modular-reactor-dudnuClear News, UK, Jan 2015 “…….Nuclear lobbyists have continued to try to build a head of steam behind Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the UK.
In NuClear News No.68 November 2014  we reported that Jim Green of FoE Australia had described this pro-SMR campaign as an implicit admission that existing reactors aren’t up to the job. SMRs are a new occupant in the graveyard of the nuclear renaissance – but the problem is
no-one wants to buy one.
………..in August NuClear News No.65 reported that the Union of Concerned Scientists in the US point out that the economies of scale dictate that, all other things being equal, larger reactors will generate cheaper power. Even if SMRs could eventually be more cost-effective than larger reactors due to mass production, this advantage will only come into play when many SMRs are in operation. But
utilities are unlikely to invest in SMRs until they can produce competitively.
 The Washington-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) says SMRs will
probably require tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies or government purchase orders
and create serious concerns in relation to both safety and proliferation. By spreading SMRs
around the globe we will increase the proliferation risk because safeguarded spent fuel and
numerous small reactors would be a much more complex task than safeguarding fewer large
reactors……..
Speaking at the Nuclear New Build conference yesterday, shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex
warned the government that “no one, including the Chancellor as he drafts his Autumn Statement,
should be fooled into thinking that small nuclear reactors are somehow the answer to all our

January 14, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

Humanity’s last stand against climate change – this generation’s duty – Ban Ki Moon

climate-posterWe are the last generation that can fight climate change. We have a duty to act   Guardian 12 Jan 15  After a year of global turmoil, the UN and international community must work harder than ever for a sustainable future “……..Climate action took on significant momentum with major announcements by the EU, the US and China, and a successful climate conference in Lima, Peru, that kept complex negotiations on track. We must aim high: for the adoption of an ambitious and universal agreement in Paris in December to keep the rise in global temperatures below the dangerous threshold of 2C.

Ours is the first generation that can end poverty, and the last that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In this 70th anniversary year in which we renew our commitment to the goals and principles of the UN charter, the international community must rise to the moment. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/12/last-generation-tackle-climate-change-un-international-community

January 14, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Sellafield Catch Up 2015

 Unacceptable levels of high level liquid waste
a terrorist attack on the Sellafield Highly Active Liquid tanks could require the evacuation of an area between Glasgow and Liverpool, and cause around 2 million fatalities
highly radioactive liquid stored in tanks contained around 2,400
kilograms (kg) of Caesium-137 compared with the 30 kg released during the Chernobyl accident
Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds
Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds (B29 and B30) abandoned 40 years ago containing
hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods pose an immediate danger to public safety
Sellafield-11highly-recommendednuClear News Jan 15  “…….2014 began with the publication of a new report (1) from the House of Commons Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) which said progress at Sellafield has been poor, with missed targets,
escalating costs, slipping deadlines and weak leadership. The MPs made a series of
recommendations focusing on the role of Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) – the
consortium of California-based URS, France’s Areva and British engineer Amec which is
overseeing the clean-up of Sellafield. The report concluded that the consortium was to blame for
many of the escalating costs and said MPs could not understand why the NDA extended the
consortium’s contract in October 2013. (2) The bill for cleaning up Sellafield had risen to more
than £70bn, according to the report.
A critical 292-page report by the accountancy firm KPMG in 2013 showed that nine of the 11
biggest projects on the site, including the construction of a storage facility for radioactive
sludge, were a combined £2bn over-budget. Seven projects were also behind schedule. (3)
Whilst the PAC highlighted poor performance in clean-up and decommissioning work,
Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) also sought to highlight how, over
the last decade, commercial reprocessing operational targets have been missed and the record
has been getting worse since the NDA took ownership of Sellafield in 2005. (4)
THORP to close in 2018

Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Reference, safety, UK | 2 Comments

Russia cracks down on environmental group Ecodefense – classed as “foreign agent”

censorshipflag_RussiaReactors from Russia are unsafe and unreliable, India shouldn’t buy them: Russian environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak DiaNuke.org, 9 Jan 15  “……….You were termed anti-national and had to face govt repression for raising voice on nuclear safety and environmental impacts in Russia. What is the status now? Why do the industry and govt go so hand-in-glove?

highly-recommendedRussia approved the “Foreign agent” Act in November 2012 which was an instrument to punish civil society criticizing the government. By Summer 2014, Ministry of justice started to forcibly include human rights and environmental groups to official list of “foreign agents” published on the ministry’ web-site. My organization – Ecodefense – was one of the first 10 non-governmental groups included to this list. And first environmental organization on this list.

It is probably symbolic that anti-nuclear group became the first environmental organization on the list of “foreign agents”. Sort of main enemy of the state among environmental movement. We never had any foreign influence on our decisions, and never had foreign people in our organization. Ironically, our work was to big extend focused on stopping the import of foreign radioactive waste to Russia, and also on stopping foreign money for new reactors in Russia. We also did campaigns on education, on climate issues, on coal. But according to official statement by the Ministry of justice, Ecodefense was put on the list of “foreign agents” for specific campaign against construction of nuclear plant near the city of Kaliningrad, my hometown.

We responded to governmental action by declaring that we will not accept the status of “foreign agent” and we will not follow legal requirements for “agents”. For one simple reason – Ecodefense is not anyone’s agent. Our work aims to stop nuclear danger, and not to benefit any government, Russian or foreign. We were openly criticizing Kudankulam project and many other projects of Rosatom, and we were criticizing European company Urenco (and its shareholders RWE and E.On) for sending radioactive waste to Russia.
It’s 6 month already since government declared us a “foreign agent”. We were fined for quite big amount of money for resisting to register as “foreign agent”. We have another lawsuit filed by the Ministry of justice for not following legal requirements for “agents”, this one is in court now. We got 4 other fines, both personal and organizational. We had three branches of Ecodefense legally registered in Russia. Two are closed down by the court in December. And we are struggling in court for our third organization in court. Unfortunately, we spend now a lot of time in courts. Expectations are not good, our last organization may be closed down this year, likely……….http://www.dianuke.org/russian-reactors-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-india-shouldnt-buy-them-russian-environmentalist-vladimir-slivyak/

January 14, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, Russia | Leave a comment

Call for new nuclear reactors, from France’s Energy Minister

flag-franceFrench energy minister wants new nuclear reactors http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/13/france-nuclear-idUSL6N0US1P320150113

First time minister clearly approved new nuclear plants

* Says some of EDF’s plants can operate more than 40 years

* EDF shares climb more than 5 percent (Adds shares, trader comment)

By Michel Rose PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) – France should build a new generation of nuclear reactors to replace the country’s ageing plants, Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Tuesday, the first time a government member has clearly approved this option.

France, the country most reliant on nuclear power, must decide in the next few years whether to continue down the nuclear route as about half of its 58 reactors will reach their designed 40-year age limit in the 2020s.

Royal’s so-called energy transition bill, which is being reviewed by the Senate after parliament’s lower house passed a first version last year, aims to cut the share of nuclear energy in France’s electricity mix to 50 percent from 75 percent.

But that does not mean France wants to exit atomic energy, as it is part of the country’s history and expertise, Royal told L’Usine Nouvelle magazine in an interview, in contrast with Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power.

“EDF’s board has adopted part of its big maintenance plan with my agreement,” Royal said.

“We must now also programme the construction of a new generation of reactors, which will replace old plants when these cannot be renovated anymore.”

Shares in EDF rose as much as 5.6 percent, the biggest gainer on France’s CAC 40 index of blue chip stocks. Clarinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu, who owns EDF shares, said Royal’s comments had given the stock a boost.

Traders also mentioned that European utilities had been buoyed by a Morgan Stanleyupgrade to British energy company Centrica, as well as positive comments about the sector from Citigroup.

Mark Lewis, a senior analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Paris, said it was a big shift in Royal’s stance.

“The problem in my view is that new nuclear build is just not economic at prices below 100 euros per megawatt-hour, just look at the guarantee the UK government had to give EDF for Hinkley C,” he said.

Britain has guaranteed the price of power from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station that is to be operated by French utility EDF.

State-owned EDF, which operates all of France’s nuclear reactors, faces a 55 billion euro ($65 billion) upgrade of its existing plants by 2025, including work decided in the light of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan.

To finance this investment, EDF has advocated an extension of reactor lifespan to 50 or 60 years, arguing that the power stations were modelled on similar reactors in the United States which have been granted 60-year licences.

“I didn’t include a 40-year age limit in the energy transition bill like ecologists wanted. Some nuclear plants can live longer,” Royal said in the interview.

This was also the first time the former partner of President Francois Hollande, and apowerful voice in the cabinet, had approved an extension beyond 40 years.

However, the ultimate decision for a lifespan extension will be for the country’s independent nuclear watchdog, the ASN, which is set to give a preliminary opinion on the question this year and make a final decision in 2018-2019.

($1 = 0.8473 euros) (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in London and Raoul Sachs; editing by Sybille de La Hamaide and David Clarke)

 

January 14, 2015 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty- USA has reduced no. of nuclear missiles, but Russia has increased theirs

U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Drops, Russia’s Missile Stocks Up – U.S. State Department Report IB Times, By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 13, 2015  A newly released report of the U.S. military’s nuclear arsenal by the State Department has disclosed that the country’s number of nuclear missiles had continued to reduce in compliance to the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) treaty with Russia. The latter, however, continued the opposite.

Data collected as of Sept 1, 2014 showed that the number of deployed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, submarine-launched ICBMs and deployed heavy bombers by the U.S. went down from 809 the year before to 794. Russia‘s inventory was the opposite at 528, from 473 a year ago.

The U.S.’ warheads on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs and nuclear warheads for deployed bombers, from 1,688, went down to 1,642. Russia recorded the same number at 1,642, but the report said the previous was 1,400.

President Barack Obama’s bailiwick, as of Sept 2014, has 912 deployed and non-deployed missile launchers, from 1,015 a year ago.  Vladimir Putin’s Russia has 911, up from 894.

The U.S. and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 2010 primarily toreduce the number of nuclear weapons and launchers that the two countries own and deployThe agreement entered into force on February 2011, and is expected to last at least until 2021.

With majority of the U.S. nuclear arsenal assigned to the Air Force, the latter has worked to demolish deactivated launch facilities throughout 2014 to comply with the New START Treaty, according to the State Department report. Crews with the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana reported in August they have completed the demolition of 50 Minuteman III launch facilities. This was inspected and verified by Russian inspectors.

A report by Air Force Times further revealed the following details:……….. http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/578890/20150113/u-s-nuclear-arsenal-russia.htm#.VLWF5NKUcnk

January 14, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Senate to vote on whether or not Climate Change is real!

politics-USA1Senate to vote on whether climate change is happening The Hill, By Laura Barron-Lopez – 01/13/15 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he will allow the Senate to vote on an amendment asking if they agree that climate change is impacting the planet…….Sanders’s amendment is one of many Democrats are looking to tack on to the controversial bill, which Republicans are eager to send to President Obama’s desk. The White House has threatened to veto the Keystone legislation.

Other amendments from Democrats include a requirement for oil companies to pay into a spill cleanup fund, and to block exports of the oil shipped via the Canada-to-Texas pipeline out of the U.S. http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/229381-mcconnell-to-allow-climate-change-amendment-on-keystone-bill

January 14, 2015 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

NATO expansion into Ukraine could spark World War 3

NATO Expansion Into Ukraine Could Ignite Nuclear War, Gorbachev Says; World ‘Will Not Survive The Next Few Years’ http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/578826/20150113/nato-expansion-ukraine-nuclear-war-gorbachev.htm#.VLWFANKUcnk By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 13, 2015 10:55 AM EST

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, without necessarily taking sides with Russian President Vladimir Putin, told a German news magazine that NATO instigated the current Ukraine crisis because it had chosen to not adhere to the provisions of the Paris Charter of 1990, thus saying the dangling nuclear between the bloc and Russia is just a matter of time.

With both sides flaunting their respective nuclear arsenal, Gorbachev told German magazine Der Spiegel the world “will not survive the next few years” if either side lost its nerve in the current stand-off. “Moscow does not believe the West, and the West does not believe Moscow. The loss of confidence is catastrophic.”

Although critical of his successor, the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner nonetheless believed Mr Putin was just reacting based on NATO’s flamboyant aspirations to expand, fuelled by the United States’ “dangerous winning mentality.” He said US-led NATO’s eastward expansion has destroyed the very essence of the European security order which was written in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. The bloc’s expansion, he claimed, was a 180-degree turn away from the Paris Charter of 1990. He said the latter was made together with all European states to finally leave the Cold War in the past.

“We won’t survive the coming years if someone loses their nerve in this overheated situation,” Gorbachev said. “This is not something I’m saying thoughtlessly. I am extremely concerned.”

He also sanctions against Russia lead to nowhere because it harms both Moscow and those who imposed them. “It reminds me of blood revenge. Sanctions are not the suitable instrument in case we want to save our model relations,” he said, referring to the level of cooperation Moscow and Berlin showed in the 1990s and 2000s.

Tensions between Western powers and Russia escalated after pro-Russian separatists overtook large parts of eastern Ukraine. Afterwards, Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014. NATO has been escalating its forces in Eastern Europe while accusing Russia of sending troops to Ukraine. The latter had repeatedly denied the allegations.

January 14, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

2015 – A Critical Year for New Nuclear Power in UK

There is now deep uncertainty in the nuclear industry about EPR reactors and  the complexity of the design. As well as the problems in Finland, the EPR reactor being built by EDF at Flamanville in Northern France is also years late. The concern has spread well beyond the UK.
Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantnuClear News Jan 15 “………Last month we reported that it was still unclear exactly who would invest in EDF Energy’s
proposed new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) could take up to a combined 40% share of the equity; (China Daily most recently said the Chinese are discussing an estimated 35% stake (1)) EDF could take 45-50%, and Areva 10%, and discussions have been ongoing with other interested parties – possibly the Saudis (2) and Qataris (3) – who might take 10-15%.
But BuildingMagazine claimed that reports the Saudis might be interested in investing are untrue. (4) And
Areva’s financial problems make its 10% share look increasingly unlikely. (5) The Company is
struggling to survive the ongoing mess of the Olkiluoto nuclear plant in Finland. The plant is
years behind schedule and billions over budget. Areva’s losses in Finland are currently
estimated at €3.9bn and the excess costs involved are now the subject of a bitter dispute with
the Finnish utility TVO.
Now, Nick Butler writing in the Financial Times says financing of the deal has still not been
settled Continue reading

January 14, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment