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December 6 Energy News



¶ Delegates at a UN climate conference in Paris have approved a draft text they hope will form the basis of an agreement to curb global carbon emissions. The 48-page document will be discussed by ministers on Monday. They will try to arrive at a comprehensive settlement by the end of next week. [BBC News]

BBC News BBC News

¶ The Paris climate conference today published a draft treaty that sets out a warming limit of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels as its long term temperature goal. Seen as a victory for poor countries, it reduces limit of 2° C warming that had previosly been agreed to as a safe level warming. [The Ecologist]

¶ Dubai’s practices in energy efficiency and water desalination was showcased during the panel discussion held at COP 21 in Paris. UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change…

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December 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are we disarming a bomb that’s already gone off?

Exposing the Big Game

Excerpt from: Why the Paris talks won’t prevent 2 degrees of global warming

BY Nsikan Akpan, William Brangham and Eric Osman  December 2, 2015

…the planet will inevitably surpass the 2 degree Celsius benchmark during this century, even with the calculations and intended pledges of the officials involved with the UN Convention on Climate Change and this week’s talks.

“These calculations show that even if countries fulfill their pledges, emissions will keep rising globally through 2030, and without any sign of stopping,” Barrett said. “And there’s no way you can meet any temperature target as long as emissions keep rising. The only way you can stabilize the climate is if global emissions head toward zero.”

Oppenheimer said the tipping point for reaching zero emissions greenhouse gases comes somewhere near the mid-century.

“The projections suggest that sometime after 2050 or 2060, but perhaps as late as 2100…

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December 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The double and entwined dangers – nuclear and climate change

globalnukeNOincreased reliance on nuclear energy to reduce carbon emissions will contribute to the risks of nuclear proliferation

a series of incidents in recent years, extreme weather events, environmental degradation and major seismic events can directly impact the safety and security of nuclear installations.

The Climate-Nuclear Nexus: Two Key Threats Endangering Future GenerationsHuffington Post      5 Dec 15 Over the next two weeks, Heads of States are logo Paris climate1meeting in Paris to finally agree on a plan to curb climate change. Considering that climate change can exacerbate a range of interconnected transnational threats and crises that our generation faces today, such as extreme poverty, hunger, violent conflicts and pandemic disease, meaningful action is urgently needed.

Despite this, the proposed measures are again nowhere near proportional to the problem. In fact, the climate negotiations have so far been subjected to lack of information and misguidance on so-called solutions that should enable us to limit the rise in temperatures to 2°C. One particular problem is that too many of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) still build on nuclear energy as a way for low-carbon development. 

This is extremely problematic given that increased reliance on nuclear energy to reduce carbon emissions will contribute to the risks of nuclear proliferation. In these crucial times, current instabilities and geopolitical tensions are an important dynamic to consider. The increasingly aggressive nuclear threat postures between Russia and NATO in Europe, the rising nuclear tensions between China and US allies in the South China sea, and the excessive expenditures (over US$100 billion annually) on nuclear weapons consume resources required and undermine conditions conducive for tackling climate change in a cooperative manner. Further proliferation of nuclear weapons would make this even worse……

Nuclear energy is neither required for nor capable of solving the climate crisis. Nuclear energy lacks the capacity potential to significantly replace the huge amounts of fossil energy. In addition, the nuclear ‘fuel chain’ contains a variety of problems and risks, including the release of radioactive materials at every stage of the cycle and trans-generational safety problems from nuclear waste disposal. A very serious problem is the possibility, at various stages of the nuclear fuel chain, to divert nuclear technologies and know-how towards nuclear weapons development.

As the Word Future Council has highlighted in a recent report, climate change and nuclear weapons interact with each other in additional ways. Conflicts induced or exacerbated by climate change could contribute to global insecurity, which, in turn, could enhance the chance of a nuclear weapon being used, could create more fertile breeding grounds for terrorism, including nuclear terrorism, and could feed the ambitions among some states to acquire nuclear arms.

Furthermore, as evidenced by a series of incidents in recent years, extreme weather events, environmental degradation and major seismic events can directly impact the safety and security of nuclear installations. Moreover, a nuclear war could lead to a rapid and prolonged drop in average global temperatures and significantly disrupt the global climate for years to come, which would have disastrous implications for agriculture, threatening the food supply for most of the world. Finally, climate change, nuclear weapons and nuclear energy pose threats of intergenerational harm, as evidenced by the transgenerational effects of nuclear testing and nuclear power accidents and the lasting impacts on the climate, environment and public health from carbon emissions……

The World Future Council has been highlighting how climate change and nuclear weapons interact with each other through its ‘Climate-Nuclear Nexus’ project. Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tony deBrum, received together with the People of the Marshall Islands the Honorary Right Livelihood Award on 30 November for initiating litigation in the International Court of Justice to ensure the nuclear-armed states uphold their disarmament obligations.

December 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Liability and compensation issues for a nuclear India

India-protestIndia unprepared: what happens in case of a nuclear Bhopal?, Catch News, KUMAR SUNDARAM@pksundaram 4 December 2015

“……..On the issue of liability and compensation, the government has shown scant regard to potential victims. Safeguarding the foreign suppliers from any liability has been a paramount concern.

Nothing could be more absurd and ironic than the fact that since the inception of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, the government has been busy finding a way to address the concerns of the foreign suppliers, who want complete indemnification.

The clause 17(b), holding suppliers liable, albeit with severe limitations, was introduced under parliamentary and civil society pressure by a reluctant Manmohan Singh. But the Modi governmentt has dumped the earlier BJP position on nuclear liability, and tried to create an insurance pool to channel the liability back to the exchequer, thus undermining the law.

In the light of India’s vulnerability on the above three counts, the 31st anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy should be a moment to recognise that, in general, our administrative and political system can only be relied on to be totally inefficient and unaccountable.

As with Bhopal, in the case of a nuclear accident, the government would be unable to provide any relief for victims, especially as the main victims would be adivasis and villagers far away from the public gaze.

Irreversible and wide-ranging consequences………

December 6, 2015 Posted by | India, Legal, safety | Leave a comment

Paris COP21 anti-nuclear activists arrested after daring climb on Arche de la Defense

protest COP21Anti-nuclear climbers defy Paris protest ban, four arrested  Four anti-nuclear activists defied the state of emergency ban on public protest in Paris on Wednesday, December 2, climbing up the steel cables beneath the modern Arche de la Defense to hang banners. French environmentalists joined German climbers from the action group in the ascent as the COP 21 climate talks were underway. They first deployed small banners reading “Don’t Nuke the Climate – Stop EPR” (referring to the latest French reactor design). Police were quickly on the scene, including 20 from a specially equipped mountain brigade in town for the event. They pursued the climbers up the cables and prevented a larger banner from unrolling which would have proclaimed “System Change, Not Climate Change!”

The four were taken into custody and charged with disrupting public order and violating the state of emergency before their release some hours later. The action was part of international “Climate Games”, a call to direct action against institutions responsible for climate change.

Their statement said:

“States gathered at the COP 21 are powerless to prevent climate catastrophe. Their interests are too intertwined with those of multinationals. For the political change needed to happen, it is for the people to put pressure on governments and companies responsible for climate change.

“Given the climate problem, a capitalist economic system based on growth can only give us false solutions: geo-engineering, carbon markets and of course nuclear. It does not get us out of the impasse. It feeds unbridled energy consumption… ‘System change’ is to refuse the colonial wars of appropriation of resources and ecosystem changes that cause desperate migration, exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions, and contribute to the nihilistic radicalization of a minority. Faced with the threat of terrorism and the draconian response of the State, it is all the more urgent to carry this message to the heart of French economic power.”

Climber Cécile Lecomte wrote:

“In the international climate debate, uncontrolled economic growth is not discussed as a key driver of climate change. Nuclear power is totally unsuitable as a remedy to destructive economic growth. Instead of focusing on risky technologies, in particular the industrialized countries are invited to take a change of system – towards a democratic, social and ecological economy that is aligned to the needs of all people. Less is more!”

For more information, visité-etat-d-urgence

December 6, 2015 Posted by | Finland, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

North America’s West Coast getting record levels of Fukushima radiation

Fukushima toiletRecord levels of Fukushima radiation detected off West Coast — Massive plume stretches for more than 1,000 miles — Reuters: Contamination is spreading off U.S. shores — Radioactive cesium reaches 11 Bq/m3 at multiple locations

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Dec 3, 2015 (emphasis added): Higher levels of Fukushima cesium detected offshore — Scientists monitoring the spread of radiation in the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear accident report finding an increased number of sites off the US West Coast showing signs of contamination from Fukushima. This includes thehighest detected level to date from a sample collected about 1,600 miles west of San Francisco. The level of radioactive cesium isotopes in the sample, 11 Becquerel’s per cubic meter… is 50 percent higher than other samples collected along the West Coast so far… Working with Japanese colleagues, [Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine radiochemist] also continues to independently monitor the ongoing leaks from Fukushima Dai-ichi by collecting samples… During his most recent trip this October they collected samples of ocean water, marine organisms, seafloor sediment and groundwater along the coast near the reactors. Buesseler says the levels of radioactivity offFukushima remain elevated – some 10 to 100 times higher than off the US West Coast today, and he is working with colleagues at WHOI to try to determine how much radioactive material is still being released to the ocean each day.

Ken Buesseler, WHOI: “These new data are important for two reasons… the changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific. Second, these long-lived radioisotopes will serve as markers for years to come for scientists studying ocean currents and mixing in coastal and offshore waters… [F]inding values that are still elevated off Fukushima confirms that there is continued release from the plant.”

Statesman Journal, Dec 3, 2015: Higher levels of Fukushima radiation detected off West Coast— Higher levels of radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident are showing up in the ocean off the west coast of North America, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported today. And an increased number of sampling sites are showing signs of contamination… This year, Buesseler has added about 110 new sample results to 135 already on the project’s web site. They include the highest detected level to date, from a sample collected about 1,600 miles west of San Francisco.

Reuters, Dec 3, 2015: Radiation from Japan nuclear disaster spreads off U.S. shores… andcontamination is increasing at previously identified sites… Tests of hundreds of samples of Pacific Ocean water confirmed that Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to leak… The latest readings measured the highest radiation levels outside Japanese waters to date some 1,600 miles (2,574 km) west of San Francisco. The figures also confirm that the spread of radiation to North American waters is not isolated to a handful of locations, but can be detected along a stretch of more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) offshore.

See also: Fukushima nuclear waste now being found off all U.S. states on West Coast — Detected near shorelines of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska this summer — Highest radiation just miles from San Francisco (MAP)

December 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, USA | 3 Comments

Dr Ken Buesseler reports cesium-134 from Fukushima in ocean waters off North America shores

Pacific-Ocean-drainFukushima radiation detected off North America shores Researchers detect higher levels of radiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster off North America’s shores.Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said on Thursday recent tests of Pacific Ocean water revealed that the Fukushima nuclear power plant continues contamination of the ocean with radioactive isotopes.

Buesseler said samples taken from several hundred miles off the shores of Oregon, Washington and California as well as Canada’s Vancouver island over the past few months tested positive for cesium-134.

Cesium-137 isotope was also detected at low levels in almost all seawater samples tested by Buesseler and his fellow researchers.

“Despite the fact that the levels of contamination off our shores remain well below government-established safety limits for human health or to marine life, the changing values underscore the need to more closely monitor contamination levels across the Pacific,” said Buesseler.

Last year, Buesseler said Fukushima radiation was detected in samples taken off the coast of northern California. In April, radiation was also identified off Canada’s shores.

The latest figures show that the spread of Fukushima radiation is not limited to certain locations, but can be found along a stretch of 1,000 miles offshore. n March 2011, a massive tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9 quake filled the Fukushima nuclear cooling systems with water, sending some reactors into meltdown and sparking a decades-long cleanup effort by the Japanese government.

Shortly after the accident, radiation was released into the sea, food chain, and air, and now the Fukushima incident is the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.

December 6, 2015 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

China’s awful safety record does not augur well for its planned nuclear project

safety-symbol-SmThe idea of nuclear power in China makes many people, including many in the country, quite nervous.

One of the most compelling critics is He Zuoxiu, a physicist who worked on China’s nuclear program and is a member of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences

flag-ChinaChina has an awful safety record — and wants to run 110 nuclear reactors by 2030 WP, By Emily Rauhala December 4 It had been about a month since chemical explosions blasted and burned through the port of Tianjin, killing 173. Pictures of rescue workers in hazmat suits became some of the signature images of the disaster. And despiteincredible censorship, it was clear to most that unsafe chemical storage — thanks to bribery by local big shots — was to blame.

Still, on Sept. 15, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection announced post-Tianjin nuclear safety checks to “make sure nuclear facilities and equipment are safe and under control.” Given the timing, it felt less like an assurance than an afterthought: “We definitely did not forget to check those nukes.”

Now, almost four months after the Tianjin blasts, with world leaders gathered in Paris for climate talks, a top Chinese energy firm reminded us, again, of China’s nuclear future—a future that a prominent Chinese physicist recently called “insane.”

Power Construction Corp of China, a state-owned enterprise, on Thursday said that the draft of China’s 13th five-year-plan, an important government blueprint, says the country will have 110 working nuclear reactors by 2030. The plan calls for about $78 billion to be set aside to build plants using “homegrown nuclear technologies,” and would see the addition of six to eight reactors a year for five years.

The figures have circulated before and are roughly in line with the number of proposed plants — 150 — that the World Nuclear Association estimates are under consideration ……..

the idea of nuclear power in China makes many people, including many in the country, quite nervous.

China opened its first reactor in the early 1990s. After some growth, development slowed following a nuclear sector corruption scandal in 2009 and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. After watching Japan struggle with the aftermath of that disaster many here wondered if China ought to pursue an industry that so roiled the relatively wealthy, rule-abiding and safety-conscious Japanese.

The blasts in Tianjin were another reminder that the country has a long way to go in terms of industrial and workplace safety. If local authorities regularly fail to keep mines, factories and warehouses safe, should they be trusted with overseeing nuclear plants?

One of the most compelling critics is He Zuoxiu, a physicist who worked on China’s nuclear program and is a member of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences. ……

December 6, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Organisers at COP21 dismiss nuclear, in favour of faster, cleaner, cheaper, renewable technologies

globalnukeNOThe general call from the organisers and French presidency of the climate-change conference in Paris logo Paris climate1is for faster solutions [than nuclear] to the expanding GHG problem, based on sustainable energies, which as well as being low in C02 emissions, require less investment in money, technology and therefore, time.

Nuclear is not so much a dirty word at Cop21, it can barely be heard, RFI, 5 Dec 15 Nuclear is keeping a low profile at the Cop21 Climate Change conference at Le Bourget just outside Paris, where political goodwill, financing and energy solutions are key issues.  ….

The nuclear lobby from several continents is nonetheless present during the Cop21 negotiations, with a stand in the Solutions Gallery nudging shoulders with oil-producer countries’ stands, and scientific institutes for gas and solar energy. for example.

“……..Cyrille Cormier of NGO Greenpeace France disagrees. He says that compared to renewables, nuclear is far more costly.

“Every megawatt-hour produced by nuclear energy from an EPR reactor costs about 100 euros. The cost of producing the same amount of renewable energy with wind turbines and solar is already less almost everywhere in the world. For example in France, it’s already 70 euros per MW-hour for big solar farms and wind turbines.”

Cormier remarks on Youth Day at the Cop21, that nuclear is a waste burden and financial drain on future generations.

Price is not the only drawback, especially for developing countries. The raw material for nuclear energy, uranium, is in limited supply. Scientists reckon the uranium supply will run out before the end of the next century

While not GHG producing, nuclear waste is highly polluting and radioactive. Disposal is problematic. The nuclear power plant disasters in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986 and in Fukushima in Japan four years ago are shocking examples of the devastating results of nuclear accidents, either human or due to natural catastrophe.

The general call from the organisers and French presidency of the climate-change conference in Paris is for faster solutions to the expanding GHG problem, based on sustainable energies, which as well as being low in C02 emissions, require less investment in money, technology and therefore, time.

December 6, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

India’s Bhopal gas victims call on PM Modi to shun nuclear power industry


Abe to India

Five organisations working for the gas victims in a letter to Japanese PM Abe scheduled to visit New Delhi on December 11 to hold annual summit talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi urged him to shun the idea of selling nuclear technology after Fukishima disaster more so because the Indian Government has totally failed in the responding to the aftermath of Bhopal disaster and poisons of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical continue to find new victims every day, even after 31 years of the disaster. The letter to the Japanese PM further says that the victims of Bhopal continue to struggle for justice, adequate compensation and proper medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation even after 31 years of the tragedy.

The organisations also warned him that to make their pleas heard citizens in Japan and people in India living near existing and proposed nuclear power plants would stage protests during his upcoming visit to India.

They said that one of the main reasons they were opposed to the India-Japan nuclear agreement is that in India, the implementation of environment and labour laws are pathetic. The letter said that  they also realise that this nuclear agreement has nothing to do with the energy situation in this country, rather the sole aim is to restore some confidence in the global nuclear lobby, which is facing its terminal crisis after Fukushima.

They said , “We urge you to desist from this impending agreement during your visit to India. We want strong relationship between India and Japan. We want both countries to come closer and work on technologies that make human lives better—renewable energy sources, effective decontamination and more accessible medicines. For a better future for India and Japan, and for safety, security and prosperity of our people, let us shun the nuclear path and opt for a peaceful future”.

December 6, 2015 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Climate refugees will be needing help, whether or not COP21 talks produce a result

Even If Paris Climate Talks Succeed, Pacific Islanders Will Be Looking For New Homes, New Matilda,  By  on December 4, 2015 Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours already face poverty, and soon they’ll be facing even worse. Thom Mitchell reports from Paris.

More than 70 per cent of households in the Pacific Islands of Tuvalu and Kiribati to Australia’s north east say they’re likely to migrate if the impacts of climate change become any worse than they already are, according to research presented in Paris at a global summit on climate change yesterday.


Climate change already exists as a key driver of migration in the region, according to the study presented by the United Nations University’s Dr Koko Warner, which found it motivating 23 per cent of Kiribati’s migration and eight per cent of Tuvalu’s.

In Nauru – an island nation Australia uses to arbitrarily and indefinitely detain many of its asylum seekers – more than 40 per cent of households said they feel migration would be their likely response if sea level rise or flooding worsened.

All three islands are extremely vulnerable to the climate change impacts like sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, and storm surges, and the survey of more than 7,000 people across the three countries found that climate change was already affecting agriculture and fish stocks, and reclaiming or spoiling land.

Pacific Island leaders have been pushing the issue of climate-induced migration in the opening days of the Paris talks, arguing for a more ambitious target than the two degrees of average global warming the negotiations are aiming for. Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said the two degree target was about “saving economies,” and that for Pacific Islanders their preferred target of a 1.5 degree rise in temperatures is about “saving our people”……..

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, has repeated his calls for Australia to stop approving new fossil fuel developments at the talks, arguing that to be serious about cutting emissions you’ve got to be serious about not approving new coal mines.

“They use the excuse of the poor. But we are the poor, and we are speaking on our own behalf and we will be affected,” Tong said in November. Yesterday, Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt argued that the reason he approved the massive Carmichael coal mine in Queensland is that, as a government minister, he makes assessments of projects against the existing law, that greenhouse gasses do not form part of that law, and that it would be “neo-colonial” to make decisions about another countries’ “energy future”…….

Greens Deputy Leader Larissa Waters is also at the Paris climate talks, and she said it is “dishonest and deceptive for Minister Hunt to say he hopes there are no climate refugees at the same time as he approves mega coal mines that he knows full well drive dangerous global warming and threaten our Pacific Island neighbours”.

“President Tong yesterday said that politicians have no compassion, only election cycles; and looking at the Turnbull Government’s dangerous climate policies it’s hard not to agree,” she said………

Phil Glendenning is the Director of the Pacific-focused Edmund Rice Centre and the Refugee Council of Australia, and he said a two degree rise in temperatures would be devastating for Tuvalu and Kiribati.

“Where will these people go? And more importantly, if there was some sort of arrangement where they had some sort of certainty of their future, that would give them a choice and ease the burden they feel at the moment, where they feel it’s all inevitable,” he said.

“I think Australia could play a creative role to become part of the solution rather than a fence or a barrier, but having said that most people want to stay in their homes,” he said. “If they do choose to move, though, Australia should make it easier rather than harder.”

Glendenning said it would be good to see “some sort of freedom of association that would be different but similar to the arrangements that New Zealand has with the Cook Islands and Niue; different but similar to what the Marshall Islands have with the United States”.

“Kiribati and Tuvalu do not have that access,” he said, “and yet both of those countries use Australian currency, and look to Australia as their largest neighbour”.

“Why not have a look at that, because if we look at it Tuvalu has a population the size of Lithgow (to Sydney’s north west) and Kiribati is the same size as Toowoomba (in Queensland’s Darling Downs).”

The study found that while the majority of respondents would prefer to migrate if climate impacts worsen, the average monthly per capita income is just US$12 across the three countries studied, and only a quarter of the population felt their households will have the financial means to relocate.

December 6, 2015 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

India is not at all prepared for a nuclear Bhopal type disaster

India unprepared: what happens in case of a nuclear Bhopal?, Catch News, KUMAR SUNDARAM@pksundaram |4 December 2015

The inaction

  • Among the first things the Modi govt did was to disband the National Disaster Management Authority
  • It is yet to set up a replacement body to respond to calamities

Disaster awaits

  • India is unprepared to cope if there’s a nuclear accident at one of its power plants
  • Five years after Fukushima and 30 years after Chernobyl, there doesn’t seem to be much thought about it either

More in the story

  • How does one check if a country is prepared for a nuclear disaster?
  • How badly does India fare on these criteria?

It has been 31 years since the horrendous man-made tragedy in Bhopal. The victims/survivors continue to struggle for justice and reparation, for basic decontamination and cleaning, and expanding medical care beyond the arbitrarily-identified ‘victims’. The genetic impact of the Union Carbide gas leak has been revealed in many scientific studies, but these haven’t led to any serious efforts by the Central or state governments.It has also been five years since the nuclear accident in Japan’s Fukushima and 30 since the Chernobyl disaster in the erstwhile USSR. It’s high time India stopped and thought – are we ready to deal with a serious nuclear accident?

Also read: 2 years on, Kudankulam isn’t working. Where are its cheerleaders now?

Among the first things the Narendra Modi government did after coming to power was to scrap the National Disaster Management Authority. However, it is yet to come up with a better way to respond to calamities and their human consequences.

Preventing and responding to a nuclear accident goes far beyond setting up a new bureaucratic behemoth. Contrary to reassurances given by nuclear engineers and industry insiders, nuclear safety is about much more than just design safety…….

Regulatory nightmare

The Indian nuclear industry is completely non-transparent and unaccountable. Operating directly under the Prime Minister’s Office, it enjoys complete insulation from public and democratic scrutiny.

Serious RTI queries are routinely rejected by deploying the vintage 1962 Atomic Energy Act, evoking a ‘national security’ clause. This is despite the fact that the civilian sector was separated after the watershed moment, the Indo-US Nuclear Deal……..

Liability and compensation…….

December 6, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority fails to conduct on-site checks for plant cables

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanNRA fails to conduct on-site checks for nuclear plant cables, Japan Times, 5 Dec 15    The Nuclear Regulation Authority failed to conduct on-site inspections to determine if safety equipment cables were installed separately from other cables at nuclear power plants during the safety screening process required for the restart of reactors, it was learned Saturday.

The revelation came to light when it was recently revealed that safety cables at nuclear facilities, including Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, were not separated from other cables, a violation of the new nuclear safety standards introduced in July 2013.

The nuclear safety watchdog’s oversight also includes cables installed for reactors that have already passed safety screenings, including those at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

At all seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, many safety-related cables, including those used to transmit data from water meters and for water injection operations, were found combined with other cables. The seven units are all boiling-water reactors…….

In pre-restart reactor inspections, the NRA does not check to see if safety cables are separated, although inspections are done for fire-extinguishing and other equipment, the officials added.

At the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the problem cables were first found under the central control rooms for the No. 1 to No. 7 reactors.

The NRA then asked other power companies with boiling-water reactors to check and report if they had similar issues. Power utilities with pressurized-water reactors were also asked to report.

At the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactor, mixed cables were found in areas outside the central control rooms.

“At present, we can’t deny the possibility that safety and other cables are mixed at pressurized-water reactors, but how to handle the problem has yet to be decided,” an official at the NRA said. “First, we’ll analyze the report from Tepco.”

Of pressurized-water reactors in Japan, the No. 1 and the No. 2 reactors at the Sendai power plant resumed operations in August and October, respectively.

The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, and the No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture have also passed NRA safety screenings.


December 6, 2015 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

All is not rosy in the scramble to market nuclear power to India

Abe visit unlikely to lead to nuclear deal with India’s Modi, Japan Times, BY  BLOOMBERG, 5 Dec 15  “……Modi will use Abe’s visit next week to lobby Japan to join the list of countries India can rely on for nuclear technology or fuel to help bring reliable and clean power to its 1.3 billion people. Japan, the only country to suffer nuclear attacks, has refrained from sealing a deal because India has not yet joined the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Prime Minister Abe’s visit will speed up the talks and I hope the deal can be signed when the two heads of state meet the next time,” Sekhar Basu, secretary at the Department of Atomic Energy, said in an interview in New Delhi. “We’re making very good progress, but I don’t think we are in a position to sign a deal during this meeting,” which starts Dec. 11……

fighters-marketing-1A deal with Japan would strengthen ties to U.S. reactor suppliers Westinghouse Electric Co., controlled by Toshiba Corp., and General Electric Co., which has a venture with Hitachi Ltd. It’ll also help India access cheaper financing and specialized steel from Japan used for nuclear projects, Basu said.

“The two governments are currently negotiating a nuclear treaty,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday. “India has not signed the NPT and the government is aware of various arguments concerning nuclear cooperation with India.”

Even if it signs a deal with Japan, India’s efforts to raise nuclear capacity are challenged by laws that leave equipment makers, in addition to the plant operators, liable for accidents. Foreign and local suppliers including General Electric Co. have opposed the rules……

December 6, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Warning on India’s nuclear safety and on the excessive nuclear costs

Nuclear power is unsafe and too costly for India, ex-Power Secretary EAS Sarma tells Modi, Japan’s Abe, Scroll In, EAS Sarma  5 Dec 15  Ahead of the Japanese leader’s visit to India, former top bureaucrat urges New Delhi and Tokyo to be cautious about striking a deal. With Japan and India expected to sign an agreement on nuclear supply when the East Asian country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visits India later this month, former power secretary EAS Sarma has written an open letter to the leaders of the two countries laying out his concerns about nuclear energy.

To begin with, he contended that there were intense anxieties about the safety of nuclear energy. “While the protogonists of nuclear technology persistently try to justify proliferation of nuclear power on the ground that the probability of occurrence of a Fukushima-like accident in a nuclear power plant is low, none of them can ever deny that such accidents can take place one time or the other, either as a result of a natural disaster on which we have no control or as a result of a human failure that we cannot wish away,” he wrote.

He also claimed that nuclear power is unaffordable for a country like India. “When the global climate negotiations have their focus on replacing new megawatts with “negawatts” (saved megawatts) and green megawatts, it is anachronistic for the world to cling to expensive energy sources like nuclear power,” he said.

Here is the full text of his letter…….

December 6, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment