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Small Nuclear Reactors turn out to have an equally Big Radioactive Waste problem

flag-UK1. Small Reactors and the UK’s Long-Term Nuclear Strategy. nuClear News, March 2015 “……Waste Implications The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) has looked at the waste implications of a 75GW programme [ i.e Small Modular Reactor or PRISM] which would be equivalent to a programme of over 50 new large-scale reactors.
wastes-1It said that since the Government has, so far, been mainly talking about the waste inventory from only a 16GW nuclear new build programme, it should consider defining a maximum size for a deep geological facility (GDF) and make clear that we might need multiple GDFs. (15)
The Environment Agency (EA) has already set a limit on the risk that may be caused by the burial of radioactive wastes of 10-6 (i.e. one in a million). (16) Figures from the NDA Disposability Assessment Report for waste arising from new EPR reactors (17) suggest that a programme equivalent to 50 large reactors would require around four GDFs.1
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has built up a momentum for SMRs by throwing hundreds of millions of dollars in cost-shared funding to jump-start the industry…..
text-SMRsfirst someone needs to build a massive supply chain. Money for that would presumably come from customer orders – if there were any. The problem is it appears that no one actually wants to buy one
So what are prospects for small reactors, both in the UK and globally? Former CoRWM Chair, Professor Gordon Mackerron says no SMR (properly defined) has yet been commercialised anywhere in the world, and work on them has been waning because the developers cannot find a market. This is unsurprising as their cost per unit of output is higher than the already expensive conventional, larger reactors, unless hundreds can be sold to give manufacturing economies……

March 22, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Scotland’s influence on UK decisions on Trident nuclear fleet

flag-ScotlandScottish Party May Prove Crucial to Future of Britain’s Nuclear Fleet  NYT, By  MARCH 21, 2015 “…….Scotland’s growing political importance has made the future of the nuclear arsenal an issue in Britain’s general election campaign, intensifying debate over whether the country can afford its nuclear deterrent, a quarter-century after the end of the Cold War.

That question is being asked because of the surging popularity of the Scottish National Party, which stands to the left of the opposition Labour Party and has promised to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons, putting it at odds with both Labour and the Conservative-led government.

Despite losing its bid last year for Scotland to win independence from Britain, the Scottish National Party has gained strength in the polls and could tilt the balance of power if, as happened in the last national election in 2010, neither Labour nor the Conservatives win an outright majority in Parliament in the voting on May 7.

Should Labour win the opportunity to form a government and turn to the Scottish National Party for support — a prospect analysts say is very real despite a Labour promise not to enter a formal coalition with the party — the question of abandoning the Trident missile system, moving the fleet from Scotland, or at least delaying an expensive modernization program would be on the table……..

The politics of Scotland is now crucial to the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party’s defense spokesman, said that Faslane is a symbol of how Scottish views on Trident have been “totally ignored” and that “repeated British governments have made decisions over the heads of people in Scotland.”

Mr. Robertson said the proximity of Faslane to Glasgow, less than 40 miles away, makes Scotland’s largest population center a target for any enemy attack, fueling hostility to nuclear weapons. “There is overwhelming public opposition,” he said, citing stances taken by activists, churches and labor unions, among others………

March 22, 2015 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France brings in law ordering solar or plant rooftops for new commercial buildings

Agua-Caliente-solar-projectFrance Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels BY ARI PHILLIPS  MARCH 20, 2015  

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT UNDER FRANCE’S NEW GREEN ROOFTOP LAW.According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.

Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters.

 Green rooftops also significantly reduce the urban “heat island” effect in which urban areas are noticeably warmer than their surroundings. The heat island effect can cause large cities to get 1.8°F to 5.4°F warmer than surrounding areas in the day, and 22°F warmer at night,according to the EPA. This effect happens when buildings, roads, and other developments replace formerly open land and greenery, causing surfaces to become moist and impermeable, and to warm up.

Approved by French Parliament, the law was scaled back from initial proposals by environmental groups asking for green roofs to cover the entire rooftop surface of all new buildings. The compromise gave businesses a choice to install solar panels instead or to only cover part of the roof in foliage.

Even in a trimmed-down form, the law is trailblazing and will both change the urban landscape of cities across France as well as potentially inspire other countries to follow suit, especially with the United Nations’ climate summit coming to Paris at the end of the year.

France has lagged behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. As of last summer, France had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around one percent of total energy consumption. Germany has nearly 40 GWs installed. France is heavily reliable on nuclear power for its energy, and nuclear generation in 2012 made upabout 83 percent of the country’s total generation.

March 22, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, France | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks don’t mention the factor of sabotage

Unstated Factor in Iran Talks: Threat of Nuclear Tampering, NYT,  By  and MARCH 21, 2015 “………if negotiators succeed in reaching a deal with Iran, does the huge, covert sabotage effort by the United States, Israel and some European allies come to an end? “Probably not,” said one senior official with knowledge of the program. In fact, a number of officials make the case that surveillance of Iran will intensify and covert action may become more important than ever to ensure that Iran does not import the critical materials that would enable it to accelerate the development of advanced centrifuges or pursue a covert path to a bomb.

In the case of the covert effort to purchase the specialty aluminum, the Iranians actually discovered the switch before they installed the tubes, and now say they are racing ahead to develop a next-generation centrifuge that would produce nuclear fuel far faster, a prospect that has become a major sticking point in negotiations.

In public, the Obama administration says economic sanctions on oil exports and financial transactions drove Iran to negotiations — and the prospect of getting those restrictions lifted are the best chance of persuading Iran’s leadership to take a diplomatic deal limiting Iran’s production of nuclear fuel for a decade or more.

In private, officials say sabotage was the other big stick — a persistent effort to slow Iran’s progress, and a signal that the United States had other ways to deal with the nuclear program. On occasion they allude to it, as Stephen J. Hadley, President Bush’s national security adviser, did at a presentation on sanctions last year, when he talked about how the financial penalties were supplemented by “things directed at their program, which we can’t talk about.”

Although American officials remain suspicious of Iran operating a covert nuclear facility, they say they see no solid evidence of a hidden operation today.

It is entirely possible that if an accord is reached, President Obama could call a pause in what has been more than a decade of attacks, the most famous of which was a yearslong effort, code-named Olympic Games, which inserted into Iranian facilities the most sophisticated cyberweapons ever deployed. One of them was the Stuxnet worm that disabled about 1,000 centrifuges, but also spread around the world, revealing the program.

But reaching an accord is quite different than reaching a state of trust. Inside Iran, there will be pressure to keep making slow progress on a nuclear program that is central to the ambitions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and thousands of scientists who have labored for years. And in the uneasy alliance among Israel, the United States and Europe there will be continued debate about whether to supplement diplomatic pressure with covert action to keep Iran from getting to the threshold of being able to build a weapon.

For the past decade or so, the covert war to halt Iran’s nuclear program has included high-profile assassinations of their top scientists — widely attributed to Israel — and cyberattacks.

The assassinations suddenly stopped a few years ago, after they were publicly denounced by the United States. The cyberattack efforts may be continuing, probably at a lower level: a recently disclosed document from the National Security Agency, written in 2013, describes “NSA’s planned battle rhythm” to attack Iran’s systems in case of a crisis, and “Iran’s discovery of computer network exploitation tools on their networks in 2012 and 2013.” They make it clear that the N.S.A. has played a crucial role in the negotiations, in “support to policy makers” during negotiation on Iran’s nuclear program.

The ultimate goal of the covert program of industrial sabotage, according to intelligence and weapons specialists, is to produce damage obscure enough to evade easy detection, but extensive enough to result in random failures that seriously impede Iran’s nuclear drive………

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Japanese court rejects lawsuit against MOX nuclear plan

Lawsuit targeting Genkai nuclear plant’s MOX plan rejected KYODO SAGA – The Saga District Court on Friday rejected a suit seeking to block Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s plan to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel (MOX) at the Genkai power plant in Saga Prefecture.,,(subscribers only

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Fukushima accident – pieces of fuel rods and reactor vessels blasted to least 130km

Author-Fukushima-diaryNHK admitted pieces of fuel rods and reactor vessels blasted to at least Ibaraki to contain Uranium & Zirconium  Iori Mochizuki In the early morning news flash of 8/9/2014, NHK announced that pieces of nuclear fuel, fuel rods, reactor pressure vessels and the internal structure were blasted to at least 130km away from Fukushima nuclear plant.

It was 2μm diameter particle. The ball-looking shape proves it was molten in high temperature and quickly cooled down. The particles contain Uranium, Zirconium etc, which are the same material as nuclear fuel and the structure inside the vessels. These were collected from 3/14 ~ 3/15/2011 in Tsukuba city Ibaraki prefecture by the study group of Science Univ. of Tokyo.

The reason why NHK suddenly started reporting about this fact is not clear. It has been already 3 years and 5 months, which is probably too late to escape. There is a possibility that NHK announces the actual contamination situation in the area closer to Tokyo when people pay much less attention to Fukushima accident.





March 22, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Cost of Small Nuclear Reactors is greater than cost of large ones

1. Small Reactors and the UK’s Long-Term Nuclear Strategy. nuClear News, March 2015  “……..A recent House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee investigation into small reactors looked at SMRs but also PRISM reactors – 311MW sodium-cooled fast reactors being promoted as a way of using up the plutonium stockpile at Sellafield – and reactors fuelled by thorium rather than uranium. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) SMR proponents suggest that mass production of modular reactors could reduce costs, but others agree that SMRs are likely to have higher costs per unit of output than conventional reactors. (5) Even if SMRs could eventually be more cost-effective than larger reactors due to mass production, this advantage would only come into play if large numbers of SMRs were ordered. But utilities are unlikely to order an SMR until they are seen to produce competitively priced electricity. This Catch-22 suggests the technology will require significant government financial help to get off the ground.
The Washington-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) says mass production could create new reliability vulnerabilities – if one reactor is discovered to have a fault, all other reactors manufactured in the same facility are likely to have the same fault, so all would have to be taken off-line at the same time. Millions of cars, presumably made to high quality control standards, for instance, are routinely recalled. Additionally IEER has serious concerns in relation to both safety and proliferation. (6) By spreading SMRs around the globe we will increase the proliferation risk because safeguarding spent fuel from numerous small reactors would be a much more complex task than safeguarding fewer large reactors. (7)…….
None of the designs, including the most credible, which are based on scaled-down versions of currently deployed PWR technology, is yet ready. NNL speaks of ‘detailed technical challenges’ not yet resolved. It is therefore no surprise that no-one has yet built a single SMR let alone made a commitment to building the large numbers that would be needed to make the economic case remotely credible. And the safety licensing process that will need to follow design completion would, according to the Chief UK nuclear inspector, take up to 6 years in the UK.
The cost of SMRs is essentially unknowable at the moment, but there is evidence to suggest they will be even more expensive than existing reactors…..

March 22, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference, UK | Leave a comment

Mention climate change in Florida – and you lose your job!

see-no-evilFlag-USAFlorida environment official dismissed for mentioning climate change at work, March 20, 2015 An employee from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been suspended for mentioning climate change at work.

The complaint filed Thursday by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) comes after reports that Employees from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection were told to avoid terms like “climate change” and “global warming” in official communications after Governor Rick Scott took office.

Barton Bibler is a long term employee of the DEP and until the recent disagreement with his superiors was in the position of Land Management Plan Coordinator in the division of State Lands.

He is in trouble for doing nothing more than talking about climate change at an official meeting and then making notes of that discussion in the minutes of the meeting.

During a session of the Florida Coastal Managers Forum on February 27 at which climate change and sea level were explicitly being discussed, Mr Bibler was told not to mention climate change.

He was then given a letter of reprimand and on March 9 was told not to return to work and that he would be charged for his personal leave time. Two days after this he received a medical release form requiring him to have a medical examination to look at his behavior and “medical condition” before being allowed to return to work.

Mr Bibler has no idea if he will ever be allowed to return to his job.

However, it seems that the actions of Florida Govenor Rick Scott and other state officials who operate a policy of rejecting climate change has backfired……..

March 22, 2015 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa keeps grip on its stash of weapons grade nuclear fuel

South Africa refuses to let go of its nuclear explosives, Business Tech  By March 22, 2015 The Centre for Public Integrity, a US-based non-profit investigative news organisation, has published a report which says that South Africa has enough nuclear explosives to fuel half-a-dozen bombs.

According to the report, the nuclear explosives are locked in a former silver vault at the Pelindaba Nuclear Research Centre close to the Hartbeespoort Dam.

Pelindaba is operated by The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, and was were South Africa’s atomic weapons under apartheid were developed, built, and stored.

These explosives were created by the apartheid government as part of its nuclear weapons programme. According to a report by Marcus Duvenhage, South Africa had six nuclear devices, and was busy constructing a seventh, by the time the programme stopped.

South Africa ended its nuclear weapons programme in 1989, and these weapons were dismantled.

However, the highly-enriched uranium fuel was extracted, melted down, and cast into ingots.

The report states that roughly 220kg of this fuel remains, and that South Africa is “keeping a tight grip on it”.

This weapons-grade nuclear fuel means South Africa can easily become a nuclear state again. However, the biggest concern to the United States is that it will be stolen by militants and used in a terrorist attack……..

March 22, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

If Denmark joins NATO, Russia might ramp up nuclear missiles

Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield

COPENHAGEN Sun Mar 22, 2015 (Reuters) – Russia threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system, in comments Copenhagen called unacceptable and NATO said would not contribute to peace.

Denmark said in August it would contribute radar capacity on some of its warships to the missile shield, which the Western alliance says is designed to protect members from missile launches from countries like Iran.

Moscow opposes the system, arguing that it could reduce the effectiveness of its own nuclear arsenal, leading to a new Cold War-style arms race.

In an interview in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, said he did not think Danes fully understood the consequences of joining the program.

“If that happens, Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” Vanin told the newspaper…….

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Denmark, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear bombs enrich weapons manufacturers, endanger everyone

weapons1 Ban nuclear weapons Bernice Russell March 22, 2015 Austria and 40 nations met to ban nuclear weapons, but the U.S. and allies opposed banning.

U.S. military and the war industry want additional nuclear bombs and nuclear missiles (bombers) for delivering bombs – radioactive bombs stronger than the one dropped on Hiroshima, which killed thousands.

For 50 years, the Los Alamos Laboratory engineered profitable versions of nuclear bombs. The U.S. had 800 nuclear bombs and plans on producing 500 more of a new version at $20 million each, totaling $10 billion more in government military spending.

Only 300 are deployed at bases with nuclear missile capability. Two hundred bombs are at bases in Italy, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany. Ten million Germans would be killed in nuclear exchange. U.S. European command, former Defense Secretary Colin Powell, etc. find no military value in European nuclear bombs.

Regarding the new nuclear missile, or long-range bomber with government spending $80 billion, to target China possibly, the Congressional Research Service finds over 80 percent of crude oil supplies to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan flow through the South China Sea, and long-range bombers could check any potential adversary to threaten us and our allies “access to Asia commons” – i.e. oil, imports.

More nuclear bombs and nuclear missiles are unnecessary government military spending to profit war businesses.

Ban them and older nuclear weapons.



March 22, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Britains aging nuclear veterans get a few crumbs from government

Mean-Spirited UK Finally Throws a Few Shared Crumbs at Elderly UK Atomic Veterans Mining Awareness, 22 Mar 15 The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”Hubert H. Humphrey [1]

Victims of British Nuclear Tests have fought for decades for some recognition of their illnesses, along with some financial compensation. The UK government has now offered money to be shared with all aging veterans. Why do veterans, especially the elderly ones, have to get the run around? The US also viciously gives the run around to elderly atomic veterans who have the wrong type of cancer. Why are they so mean-spirited? Just give the veterans their damn money! They were drafted and/or trying to serve their country. The UK and the US waste tons of money. Stop subsidizing the nuclear and petroleum industries for a start. Only a few days ago the UK proposed lower taxes for petroleum companies in the North Sea.

Some background. ……..

March 22, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment