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Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

WORLD. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists launches Cost Calculator for the nuclear fuel chain.

Cyber attack an increasing threat to nuclear facilities – says IAEA.

Whole brain radiation found not to be beneficial for brain cancer patients.

USA. Significant rise in ionising radiation in atmosphere over Southern California. Censored emails show US govt concern about Fukushima radiation on West Coast of USA.

USA’s defense authorisation bill- unaffordable – detached from budgetary reality. New EIA analysis shows nukes don’t help reduce carbon emissions under EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

70 years of cancer-causing nuclear pollution in St Louis.

JAPAN. Japan’s government’s optimism on nuclear power future doesn’t ring true- finance analysts. Restart of Sendai nuclear plant will be delayed.

Fukushima. Greenpeace releases confidential IAEA Fukushima-Daiichi accident report. Fukushima Daiichi ‘s Port has Record Levels of Radiation.  Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) official warns on hydrogen explosion risk at Fukushima. A nation-wide network formed in Japan, to sue government and TEPCO, over the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

UK. Dead nuclear reactors in Plymouth – expensive to maintain, and a cause of local anxiety.

AUSTRIA. ready to take legal action against subsidising of nuclear reactors.

FRANCE. Merger of AREVA and EDF, to save nuclear giant AREVA- French tax-payers to fork out.

SOUTH AFRICA.  Secrecy, and no costing known, in South Africa’s plans for nuclear power

IRAN Urgent talks between USA and Iran before June 30 deadline.

AUSTRALIA. South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission has gone very quiet.  They are now in Japan, then to Taiwan, Finland, Austria, France and the United Kingdom.  It’s all quite secretive – no idea what their global junket is costing the South Australian tax-payer. Why is no media covering this?

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Issues of Incineration Disposal of Agricultural and Forestry Radioactive Wastes in Fukushima Prefecture by Toshikazu Fujiwara

166_13_disposalMakeshift incineration facilities in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture

June 2, 2015

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident released radioactive substances across a wide area of the environment. Currently, not only decontamination operations but also people’s everyday lives generate wastes that include high concentrations of radioactive substances. The Japanese government terms radioactive wastes from 8,000 to 100,000 becquerel per kilogram (Bq/kg) designated wastes. They are today stored temporarily at various locations, while at some point in the future, after reducing their volumes, the government plans to bury them in the prefectures where they were generated. In this article, Toshikazu Fujiwara, who is well-versed in the volume reduction of these contaminated designated wastes, discusses the issue. (Nobuko Tanimura)

Introduction

In Fukushima Prefecture, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment is promoting the Waste Volume Reduction Project, which, by means of makeshift incineration facilities, incinerates the combustible wastes that are specifically designated according to the level of contamination (at or over 8,000 Bq/kg) attributed to the radioactive substances emitted from the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The combustible designated wastes include agricultural and forestry byproducts such as paddy straw, feed crops, fallen leaves, and manure; sewage sludge; and wastes from home cleaning.

According to the project, the construction of 24 makeshift incinerators is being carried out in 19 municipalities in the prefecture, most of which are already in service.

The first of these incinerators to be constructed is located in Samegawa Village, Fukushima Prefecture. Having been built as a demonstration incinerator, it has the following formal purposes: 1) reducing volumes of wastes; 2) checking safety and associated factors as well as accumulating knowledge concerning the incineration of radioactive contaminated wastes exceeding 8,000 Bq/kg; and 3) determining the environmental impacts of radioactive cesium and other substances after incineration. However, the incinerator constructed in Samegawa was presumably a preliminary project in preparation for subsequent large-scale waste incineration projects.

Problems of the waste volume reduction project

(1) Deceitfulness concerning the project’s purpose

The waste volume reduction project states as its purposes improvement of the living environment for the restoration of the region and for the encouragement of the return of the people who used to live there, and making contributions to the progress of decontamination programs and the recovery of Fukushima Prefecture. Nevertheless, the waste volume reduction project totally ignores the risk of accidents, such as explosions associated with the incineration of radioactive contaminated wastes (the Samegawa makeshift incineration facilities exploded on the ninth day after the commencement of full-scale incineration services), environmental contamination, and health impacts on the people living in the neighborhood.

(2) Defects and procedural contraventions in the Special Measures Act

The legislation on which the wastes are designated and waste volume reduction programs are promoted is the Act on Special Measures Concerning the Handling of Environment Pollution by Radioactive Materials Discharged by the Nuclear Power Station Accident, established on August 30, 2011. This Act has the following fundamental defects: 1) while the procedure for designating wastes is stipulated, the procedure for removing wastes from the designation is not included; 2) the Act specifies that wastes exceeding 8,000 Bq/kg should be treated as designated wastes and wastes exceeding 100,000 Bq/kg should be stored in interim storage, but these radioactivity criteria are not scientifically persuasive; 3) the amounts of the designated wastes are overestimated because they were not determined by proper investigation; 4) the Act does not oblige Tokyo Electric Power Company, the company responsible for the emissions, to perform countermeasures, such as the prevention of radioactive substance discharge and the collection, disposal, and storage of contaminated wastes; and 5) the Act includes no procedural stipulation for information disclosure and accountability to, or the agreement of, local residents, all of which should be preconditions for waste incineration.

(3) Probability of environmental pollution and health risks

I assume that no country has so boldly promoted the incineration of radioactive wastes attributed to a nuclear power plant accident as in the Fukushima case presented in this article. Furthermore, the Ministry of the Environment has been mixing the designated wastes exceeding 8,000 Bq/kg with less contaminated wastes before incineration in order to reduce ash contamination per unit volume and thus prevent the ashes from exceeding 100,000 Bq/kg, over which they would need to be stored in interim storage facilities. The Ministry has repeatedly explained that the incineration of designated wastes exceeding 8,000 Bq/kg by means of the makeshift incineration facilities is safe, because the facilities are provided with bag filters that capture 99.99% of radioactive substances (mainly radioactive cesium particles) in the exhaust gas emitted through the incinerator funnels, reducing them to an undetectable level. However, gaseous substances and microparticles such as particulate matter 1.0 are known to be emitted through the filters, and bag-filter applications in conventional incinerators confirm that the filters break down easily. According to the makeshift incineration facilities test project commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and performed by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in Okuma Town and Iitate Village, Fukushima Prefecture, the mass balance analysis that compared the amounts of cesium in the wastes loaded into the incinerators and those in the output indicated that the whereabouts of 30% to 40% of radioactive cesium were unknown. The missing amounts of cesium may reside in the incinerator, ducts or funnels, or may be leaking from seals and other leak-susceptible locations in the facilities. If this is the case, incineration is highly likely to cause the spread of radioactive substances in a radius of several kilometers around the facilities, resulting in ground fallout and thus contamination of the land, increasing the health risks to locals. The Ministry of the Environment has performed no risk assessment in this regard.

(4) Financial unhealthiness

The budget the Japanese government has appropriated for this series of waste volume reduction projects is abnormally large. Overseas observers have previously regarded the huge spending by Japanese municipalities on the construction and maintenance of waste incineration facilities as extraordinary. The total cost of just the construction projects for makeshift incineration facilities that we know about, and which are planned to be used for as little as three months to three years, amounts to 400 billion yen. This amount does not include most of the cost of incinerator dismantling or site decontamination. The entire waste volume reduction project is an abuse of an enormous amount of tax revenue. If methods other than incineration were used, a considerable amount of expenses could undoubtedly be saved.

Let’s stop incineration and burial by proposing alternative methods, and establish a Fundamental Law on Radioactive Contamination Prevention!

In consideration of environmental loads and accident risks, the incineration and ash burial of radioactive wastes cannot be the optimal disposal system, no matter if the wastes are those generated anew by the Fukushima nuclear plant accident or the high-level radioactive wastes resulting from conventional nuclear power facilities such as reactors. We must come up with and propose alternative systems to put an end to incineration as quickly as possible.

Source: Citizens’ Nucleat Infomation Center

http://www.cnic.jp/english/?p=3089

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

NRA not informed of tainted water transfer

NRA not informed of tainted water transfer: Tepco caught mixing in highly contaminated basment water, claiming it is “rainwater.”
Tepco is transferring wastewater that is more radioactive than it originally stated. The company failed to notify Japan’s nuclear regulator of the change :

In May, officials found that water sampled at 4 sites at the plant’s port exceeded levels of radioactivity seen previously in the 2 years since monitoring began.
It’s believed the contaminated water came from a cracked and leaking hose inside the plant. The water from the hose flowed into a channel that led to the port.
Initially, Tepco said the hose contained wastewater that was a “byproduct of treating contaminated rainwater.”
But on Wednesday it was revealed at a meeting of the NRA that the utility had begun adding other highly radioactive wastewater to the water since mid-May.
Tepco says that as a result the wastewater in the hose was “likely more radioactive than it initially declared.”
Some of the water in the hose was groundwater mixed with extremely highly contaminated water that had pooled in the plant’s basement.
The hose cracked from being bent beyond the operational limit set by the maker. The utility had also failed to replace the hose despite questions about its durability.
NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka condemned the utility for its “utter failure to control the wastewater.” He ordered the company to continue monitoring and reporting on its handling of wastewater.
Source : NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150603_37.html

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Wow! Fukushima Leak Could Cause an Explosion?

Paul Gunter seemed to be talking about the Hi-test radioactive sludge sitting at the bottom of the tanks. I thought this was about what soaked into the ground below the tank farm :

 

Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear, joins Thom Hartmann. Another day, another ominous development in Fukushima. According to new numbers from the Tokyo Electric Power Company – or Tepco – the plant’s Operator – as many as 10 percent of the nuclear facility’s containers may be leaking radioactive waste. And while the release of toxic chemicals into the environment is bad enough – this new problems comes with an added risk: it could cause a violent explosion. As one nuclear official told the Telegraph – since the leak was thought to be caused by a hydrogen build-up “If the concentration level is high, a spark caused by static electricity could cause a container to explode.” 

 

Source:  

https://youtu.be/KPkDRNOCdgY

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Significant rise in ionising radiation in atmosphere over Southern California

radiation-warningThe first tests of summer also indicate a high presence of alpha radiation which, by itself, comprised 75 percent of the overage with beta making up the other 25 percent. Indeed, the alpha detected alone was over 168 percent of background levels of radiation.

While alpha particles are positively charged and are relatively heavy, blocking them is easier than beta or gamma because they travel a short distance before losing energy. Nevertheless, alpha radiation is between 20 to 1,000 times more dangerous to the human organism due to their “relative biological effectiveness” in causing cell-death and cancer according to numerous sources.

Until the EPA ever gets its RadNet system fully operational, Americans will only have a partial idea of how ‘hot’ with radiation its air is. Failure to maintain this system leaves the country at a huge loss should radiological releases happen due to nuclear plant malfunctions and meltdowns as well as terrorism by an expanding list of American enemies who vow to destroy it.

Flag-USAAlpha radiation clouds Los Angeles air, Enviro Reporter.com 3 June 15 The first summer air radiation analysis for Southern California shows a significant uptick in alpha and beta according to a dust analysis completed June 1. Results show radiation registering at 325.7 percent of background levels.

This means that the dust reading in its entirety was over three times background. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers radiation three times background or above to be “significant.” Continue reading

June 4, 2015 Posted by | environment, radiation, USA | 2 Comments

Censored emails show US govt concern about Fukushima radiation on West Coast of USA

text ionisingFlag-USACensored US gov’t emails reveal proposed plan to test West Coast residents for Fukushima fallout — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures” — Doses could exceed EPA’s emergency levels — UC Berkeley Nuclear Dept.: “Prompt action should be taken” http://enenews.com/govt-emails-reveal-proposed-plan-test-west-coast-residents-fukushima-radiation-many-cases-cancer-being-attributed-exposures-doses-could-exceed-epas-emergency-levels?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

FOIA Document — Excerpts from email by Per Peterson, Chair of Dept. of Nuclear Engineering at Univ.of California Berkeley & scientific adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu , Mar 23, 2011 at 1:35p (emphasis added):

  • [Sent to John Holdren, senior adviser to Pres. Obama on science & technology, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, DOE/NRC officials, and others who were redacted]
  • I would like to raise another issue which now merits expeditious, near term action. There is a short time window… during which it will remain possible to… measure any I-131 that members of the public may have ingested…
  • Collecting this data… would be very valuable…
  • UCB faculty [is in] general agreement that prompt action should be taken
  • Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast

Continue reading

June 4, 2015 Posted by | environment, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists launches Cost Calculator for the nuclear fuel chain

text-relevantJohn Mecklin: Introducing the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator  http://thebulletin.org/introducing-nuclear-fuel-cycle-cost-calculator8361

… Over the last two years, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the University of Chicago have created an online tool that will help countries understand the true cost of choosing the reprocessing route—and perhaps also help limit the spread of nuclear reprocessing.

cost calculator

 

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator estimates the full cost of electricity produced by three configurations of the nuclear fuel cycle. This calculator is the first generally accessible model to provide a nuanced look at the economic costs of nuclear power, particularly in regard to the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Among many other things, the calculator clearly demonstrates that in most cases, reprocessing results in electricity that is considerably more expensive than other nuclear power, when all costs are added in.

 

June 4, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

USA’s defense authorisation bill- unaffordable – detached from budgetary reality

missile-moneyNuclear weapons: The ‘all of the above’ strategy, The Hill,  By John Isaacs and Greg Terryn, 3 June 15 
This week, the Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of the annual defense authorization bill. In a move detached from budgetary reality, the bill backs an unaffordable plan to modernize or replace nearly every aspect of the United States’ oversized nuclear arsenal. It is an “all of the above” strategy that avoids any of the hard, but necessary, strategic choices. This is the budgetary equivalent of trying to drive 50 miles with 25 miles worth of gas and the Pentagon will not be happy with the results.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016 (NDAA) passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee includes a long wish list of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. The current plan is to design and build 12 new nuclear missile submarines, as many as 100 new nuclear-capable bombers, as many as 1,100 new nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, and to modernize around 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles and the various nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal. In addition, the Committee requires the modernization and replacement of forward-deployed nuclear weapons, dual capable fighter-bomber aircraft and perhaps the development of intermediate range nuclear weapons.
The Pentagon itself is concerned about the affordability of this plan…….http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/243807-nuclear-weapons-the-all-of-the-above-strategy

June 4, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan’s government’s optimism on nuclear power future doesn’t ring true- finance analysts

Japan Government Too Bullish on Nuclear Role by 2030, BNEF Says, Bloomberg, by  , 2 June 15 Japan’s expectation that nuclear generation will account for as much as 22 percent of its electricity in 2030 is overly optimistic, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Factoring in costs and the regulatory hurdles required to extend the life of operating reactors beyond the typical 40 years, atomic power will probably supply no more than 10 percent of electricity in 2030, an analysis by BNEF shows.

The discrepancies between the London-based researcher’s findings and the official view on nuclear’s contribution highlight a looming question for Japan as it considers the composition of its energy mix following the Fukushima disaster more than four years ago.

 To achieve the government target, at least 13 reactors would need to receive extensions beyond their 40-year lifetime, BNEF said in a report released Tuesday. That would be challenging amid continued anti-nuclear power sentiment among the public, the researcher said.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has said in a draft report on energy policy that nuclear will account for 20 percent to 22 percent of electricity generation in 15 years. Though nuclear reactors supplied more than a quarter of Japan’s electricity before Fukushima, none are currently operating.

The government’s outlook, unveiled in April and reaffirmed by a consultative committee on Monday, is also too bearish on the roles for gas and clean energy, BNEF said……http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-02/japan-government-too-bullish-on-nuclear-role-by-2030-bnef-says

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear powers wasted their opportunity to further the cause of nuclear disarmament

atomic-bomb-lLost Opportunity on Nuclear Disarmament, NYT By  JUNE 3, 2015 The United States and other nuclear powers failed to use a recent United Nations conference to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament. The meeting in May was supposed to strengthen international efforts to contain nuclear weapons. Instead, it was a reminder of the deep divisions over the future of nuclear weapons and what efforts should be made to eliminate them.

The conference is held every five years to review compliance with the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the agreement known as the NPT under which the countries recognized by the treaty as having nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — committed to pursue nuclear disarmament.

The other 186 signatories promised to forgo nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan did not sign the treaty, and both have nuclear weapons. Neither did Israel, which refuses to admit that it has a nuclear arsenal, and South Sudan, which has none. North Korea, once an NPT member, withdrew in 2003 and is now believed to have perhaps as many as 16 nuclear weapons.

This year’s conference, after four weeks of often acrimonious debate and finger-pointing, collapsed on May 22 without the members formally agreeing on a plan of action. All decisions must be made by consensus, and the United States, Britain and Canada rejected the final communiqué……..

Despite the disappointments and backsliding in disarmament efforts, there is one real bright spot — the negotiation between Iran and the major powers on an agreement that would curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions. If a sound and verifiable deal is reached, it should inspire new initiatives to rid the world of the most dangerous weapons, including in the Middle East. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/opinion/lost-opportunity-on-nuclear-disarmament.html?_r=0

June 4, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) official warns on hydrogen explosion risk at Fukushima

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanGas buildup under Fukushima threatens hydrogen explosion, warn nuclear officials, June 01, 2015  by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer (NaturalNews) It is estimated that at least 130 storage containers holding radioactive waste at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan are now leaking, according to new reports. The result is a continuous hydrogen gas buildup that nuclear experts say could one day trigger a cascade of devastating explosions potentially unlike anything the world has ever seen.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) discovered the leaks during a recent inspection, observing that hydrogen and other gases are accumulating in the sediment at the bottoms of many of the storage tanks onsite. The buildup from this is causing contaminated water inside the tanks to expand, blowing off their lids and spilling their contents.

An official from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which was given the bad news during a recent study group meeting with TEPCO, reportedly told the media that this constantly accumulating gas buildup is an imminent danger and that something needs to be done to contain it.

“If the concentration level is high, a spark caused by static electricity could cause a container to explode,” stated one unnamed government official about the situation, as quoted by the news source The Asahi Shimbun.

Many of Fukushima’s storage containers are faulty; some are missing gas venting holes

In early April, many of the containers identified as leaking radioactive waste were found to be leaking the fluid through their gas venting holes, which are supposed to prevent this very thing from occurring. It was also later discovered that some of the storage tanks weren’t even properly outfitted with gas venting holes, exacerbating the problem…….http://www.naturalnews.com/049910_Fukushima_nuclear_waste_hydrogen_explosion.html

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Restart of Sendai nuclear plant will be delayed

Japan’s first reactor restart delayed to August: Kyushu Electric , 3 June 15 TOKYO – Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power said on Tuesday it has delayed the restart of its Sendai nuclear plant in southwestern Japan, the first to be brought back into service under new rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The delay to mid-August from the previous target of late July follows a warning by Japan’s nuclear regulator in April that the utility’s schedule for a restart was too optimistic……..: http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/japans-first-reactor-restart-delayed-august-kyushu-electric#sthash.cqLyjX0A.dpuf

June 4, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Washington was contaminated with radiation in 1949 secret Air Force experiment

text ionisingThe Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington, Gizmodo, 3 June 15  Sarah Zhang The physicists who invented the nuclear bomb worked out of Los Alamos in New Mexico, but the people who did the dirty work of making the bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.

Today, Hanford is the most contaminated radioactive site in America—the site of a massive (and troubled) cleanup effort. Radioactive material is still accidentally leaking into the ground. Though Hanford’s plants routinely released small doses of radioactive material into the air, most of this damage came from an event in 1949 called Green Run.

Green Run was a secret Air Force experiment that released Hanford’s largest single dose of radioactive iodine-131. On the night of December 2, 1949, at the behest of the military, scientists at Hanford let 7,000 to 12,000 curies of iodine-131 into the air, where it rode the wind as far as 200 miles. For a sense of scale, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident released an estimated 15 to 24 curies of iodine-131 and the Chernobyl accident 35 million to 49 million curies.

The Green Run stayed secret until the 1980s, when it was revealed by Freedom of Information Act requests from local newspapers. The military details are still classified. More than half a century later, suspicion and controversy continue to lurk around Green Run, especially among the residents who lived downwind of Hanford.

There’s still much that we don’t know about the Green Run, but here is what we do.

Hanford, Factory and Farm …….Hanford was always more than a production facility; it was also a research complex. Up to 1,000 animals were housed on a farm near reactor F for experiments on the effects of radiation. The animals included fish, dogs, pigs, sheep, and even alligators. Sheep, especially, were given feed with iodine-131, the same radioactive material that the reactors were discharging into the air…….http://gizmodo.com/the-secret-1949-radiation-experiment-that-contaminated-1707748721

June 4, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, history, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Dead nuclear reactors in Plymouth – expensive to maintain, and a cause of local anxiety

nuke-reactor-deadFears over nuclear reactors in Plymouth as UK spends £16m keeping unwanted submarines By Plymouth Herald   June 03, 2015 Campaigners have raised fears over the safety of nuclear reactors in Plymouth after it emerged the MoD is spending £16million to store old submarines it no longer wants – 12 of them in the city.

It has cost the UK £16million to store and maintain Britain’s 19 laid-up nuclear submarines over the last five years – 12 of them at Devonport in Plymouth – while a decision is being made about their future.

The boats which have been taken out of service have been kept in Plymouth since 1994 while the MoD decides where to finally store their nuclear reactors.

The BBC has obtained the figures regarding the upkeep of the submarines, seven of them in Rosyth, Scotland, from the Ministry of Defence through a Freedom of Information request.

 Devonport is currently home to 12 submarines – eight of which are still carrying their fuel load.

Another eight submarines are to leave service over the next 15 to 20 years.

The submarines are having to be stored and maintained as no location has yet been found for storage of the sub’s nuclear reactors.

A site is set to be named this year.

Ian Avent, of Plymouth campaigners Community Awareness Nuclear Storage and Radiation, told the BBC: “The big problem is that eight submarines on Devonport still have their fuel on board and that is potential for [a] disaster.” http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Fears-nuclear-reactors-Plymouth-UK-spends-16m/story-26626000-detail/story.html#ixzz3c2NipJ8q

June 4, 2015 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

South Africa’s government continues in its historic underestimation of nuclear costs

flag-S.AfricaGovernment’s nuclear cost muddle http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/letters/2015/06/03/letter-governments-nuclear-cost-muddle Steve Thomas, Professor of Energy Policy, Public Services International Research Unit, University of Greenwich JUNE 03 2015, THE SOUTH AFRICAN NUCLEAR ENERGY CORPORATION’S XOLISA MABHONGO CLAIMS THAT “SOUTH AFRICAN PROFESSIONALS DID NOT MAKE FOOLISH ASSUMPTIONS, DO INACCURATE FINANCIAL CALCULATIONS AND GO INTO A CONSTRUCTION PLAN WITHOUT HAVING ACCURATE PROJECTIONS OF THE OUTCOME. THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IRRESPONSIBLE” (NUCLEAR BUILD WILL POWER ECONOMIC GROWTH, MAY 29).

History suggests otherwise. When the pebble bed programme for SA to develop its own reactor design was announced in 1998, Eskom claimed a commercial reactor could be in operation by 2004 at a construction cost of less than $1,000 per kilowatt of capacity.

By 2010, commercial deployment of the pebble bed was estimated by Eskom to be 20 years away and the estimated cost of a demonstration plant had increased nearly 30-fold.

In 2006, a tender for new nuclear plants from the world market was launched with the expectation that a plant could be bought for $2,500/kW. The lowest bid was 150% more and the tender was abandoned in 2008 because it could not be financed.

Only two years later, a new attempt to order nuclear plants was launched with the publication of the first Integrated Resource Plan for the electricity industry. The prices bid in 2008 were ignored and it was assumed the cost would be only $3,500/kW. A year later, in 2011, the government had to admit this figure was far too low and revised it up to about $5,000/kW, still well below the prices bid in 2008 and below prevailing international price levels.

There are only two explanations for this continued gross underestimation of costs. Either the government is choosing to mislead the public about the actual costs, or it is far too gullible to the claims of nuclear sales people. Neither explanation reflects well on the government.

The government has promised that if the bid prices were higher than $6,500/kW, the tender would be abandoned. Given that prevailing prices in the world are now about $8,000/kW, if the government keeps its promise, the tender being launched this year is doomed to failure. It would be useful for Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to confirm now whether the promise still applies and, if it does not, how much the state is prepared to pay.

 

June 4, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment