nuclear-news

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

The irrationality of the nuclear industry economics – hundreds of $billions in tax-payer subsidies

*Subsidies at inception, reducing capital costs and operating costs.

*Accounting rules allowing companies to write down capital costs after cost overruns, cancellations and plant abandonments, reducing capital-recovery requirements,

*Recovery of “stranded costs” (costs to a utility’s assets because of new regulations or a deregulated market) passed on to rate payers.

text-my-money-2Nuclear Energy Dangerous to Your Wallet, Not Only the Environment, CounterPunch, by PETE DOLACK , 1 JAN 16 The ongoing environmental disaster at Fukushima is a grim enough reminder of the dangers of nuclear power, but nuclear does not make sense economically, either. The entire industry would not exist without massive government subsidies.

Quite an insult: Subsidies prop up an industry that points a dagger at the heart of the communities where ever it operates. The building of nuclear power plants drastically slowed after the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, so it is at a minimum reckless that the latest attempt to resuscitate nuclear power pushes forward heedless of Fukushima’s discharge of radioactive materials into the air, soil and ocean.

There are no definitive statistics on the amount of subsidies enjoyed by nuclear power providers — in part because there so many different types of subsidies — but it amounts to a figure, whether we calculate in dollars, euros or pounds, in the hundreds of billions. Quite a result for an industry whose boosters, at its dawn a half-century ago, declared that it would provide energy “too cheap to meter.”

Taxpayers are not finished footing the bill for the industry, however. There is the matter of disposing radioactive waste (often borne by governments rather than energy companies) and fresh subsidies being granted for new nuclear power plants. None of this is unprecedented — government handouts have the been the industry’s rule from its inception. Continue reading

January 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant: radioactive water is rising

water-radiationRadiation-contaminated water at Fukushima plant on the rise http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20151231/p2a/00m/0na/022000c (Mainichi Japan) FUKUSHIMA — Efforts to reduce the amount of radiation-contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant have proven helpless, and the overall amount of such water has actually increased, it has been learned.

 

Fukushima reactor 1 2015

 Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the plant, had initially planned to halve the daily amount of contaminated groundwater to 150 metric tons by pumping up groundwater from wells called “groundwater drains” on the ocean side and “subdrains” inland. However, because the pumped water was found to be highly radioactive, the utility was unable to release it into the ocean, resulting in up to around 400 tons a day of tainted water being transferred back to the side of reactor buildings.

TEPCO started pumping up groundwater from the ocean-side drains in October, but gave up on releasing the water into the ocean after detecting a high concentration of radioactive materials and salt content in the water pumped from four of the five wells on the plant premises. Meanwhile, the amount of groundwater increased after its flow was stemmed by the 780-meter-long seaside impermeable wall, which is designed to prevent tainted groundwater from flowing out into the ocean. The resultant high water pressure warped the impermeable wall by about 20 centimeters, prompting TEPCO to reinforce the wall.

While TEPCO had boasted that it was able to significantly reduce risks at the plant thanks to the completion of the impermeable wall, the situation still remains unstable

“We ended up building extra tanks (due to the increase of overall contaminated water), but we will never leak such water to the outside,” Naohiro Masuda, president of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Co., told a press conference.

TEPCO aims to cut the influx of groundwater into reactor buildings to somewhere under 100 tons a day by the end of fiscal 2016, and ultimately make the daily increase of tainted water close to zero by the end of 2020 — the year of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics — by putting the multi-nuclide removal equipment called ALPS into operation. TEPCO is planning to complete the entire decommissioning process by 2041-2051.

January 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Rain-sodium reaction caused fire in nuclear waste dump

exclamation-SmFlag-USABeatty waste dump fire blamed on rain-sodium reaction By Wesley Juhl Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 31, 2015 

A fire at a low-level radioactive waste dump in Nye County that shut down a 140-mile stretch of Nevada’s main north-south highway for almost 24 hours in October was caused by rainfall that seeped through a compromised cover and reacted with metallic sodium, according to a report released Thursday.

On Oct. 18, during heavy rainfall, the now-closed, state-owned landfill at the US Ecology dump near Beatty roared to life with explosions and fire. Beatty is about 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas, off of U.S. Highway 95.

state probe of the incident was launched to consider if the fire was related to the wet weather, and if disposal records kept by the state in Carson City and at the site list any materials that could have reacted with water to cause the fire. Monday’s report details how corrosion of the steel drums containing the metallic sodium allowed the packing fluid to seep out, leaving the metallic sodium exposed to underground elements.

The 305-page report released Thursday collects statements from staffers who were there, aerial maps, results of laboratory analyses and a 195-page study on low-level radioactive waste management from 1981 as an attachment……..

Recommendations for long-term fixes from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection include setting up enhanced monitoring of the waste facility capable of handling remote video surveillance and radioactivity measurement. The agency suggested an evaluation of the various types of wastes placed in the site and a redesign of a more protective cover cap…….. http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/beatty-waste-dump-fire-blamed-rain-sodium-reaction

January 1, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Are we satisfied to live with the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over our heads forever?

USA election 2016Imperial fascism and nuclear realities, delmarva now, MICHAEL O’LOUGHLIN December 31, 2015 Are we satisfied to live with the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over our heads forever? The rhetoric of the dominant Republican candidates for president has become imperial fascism.

Fascist because it expresses an enthusiastic embrace of violence as the central instrument of U.S. power in foreign policy. Fascist as well because this entails a cavalier dismissal of basic standards of morality associated with human rights and international law.

Trump, Cruz and Christie recently took turns giving voice to this rhetoric, talking about “carpet bombing,” “killing families of terrorists,” “shooting down Russian planes,” making “the desert glow” and closing our borders to desperate people fleeing war because they are Arab Muslims.

The smell of fascism also rises with Trump’s talk of “energy,” “strength” and “will.”Opponents are cast aside as “weak” and “low energy,” in contrast to Trump’s claims he embodies “strength” and the “will” to “make America Great Again.” Policy content? Irrelevant. Trump’s sheer “will” conquers all problems before him. All we need do is “believe” in our leader…….

The rhetoric is “imperial” because it embraces the idea that the United States alone, indeed the president alone, has a right to engage unilaterally in war without end and no need for Congressional authority, UN Security Council consent or multilateral involvement of European allies.

Arrogant claims become commonplace. The oil resources of Middle Eastern countries are now “ours” and we will just “take it,” according to Trump. Central to the imperial perspective, national sovereignty belongs only to the imperious state. Other nations have no such rights…..

As journalist Walter Pincus recently wrote: “After Sept. 11, 2001, a very wise intelligence officer told me in 2002, ‘we have turned 16 clever al-Qaeda terrorists into a worldwide movement, seemingly more dangerous to Americans than the communist Soviet Union with thousands of nuclear missiles.’”

As of this date, the world has a stockpile of some 15,695 nuclear weapons, with the US and Russia armed with 93% of that stockpile, 7,200 and 7,500, respectively. In this respect, though some nuclear disarmament has been achieved, it remains the case that the greatest danger to the survival of the US, indeed, the world, is the continued existence of Russian warheads and our own.

Much hot air has been expelled on the real and imagined threat of non-state terrorism. Yet, where in the debates thus far have we heard serious discussion of moving faster towards a “nuclear free” world? Or are we satisfied to live with the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over our heads forever?

Michael O’Loughlin is a member of the Peace Alliance of the Lower Shore http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/opinion/2015/12/31/column-oloughlin/78150212/

January 1, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry discounts the massive tax-payer future costs of radioactive wastes

Nuclear Energy Dangerous to Your Wallet, Not Only the Environment, CounterPunch, by PETE DOLACK , 1 JAN 16    “………There would at least be a small silver lining in this dark picture if the electricity produced were cheap. But that’s not the case. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, the cost of producing electricity from nuclear power in France tripled and in the United States the cost increased fivefold, according to the Vermont Law School paper [page 46].

wastes-1Then there are the costs of nuclear that are not imposed by any other energy source: What to do with all the radioactive waste? Regardless of who ultimately shoulders these costs, the environmental dangers will last for tens of thousands of years. In the United States, there is the fiasco of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada. The U.S. government has collected $35 billion from energy companies to finance the dump, which is the subject of fierce local opposition and appears to have no chance of being built.

Presumably, the energy companies have passed on these costs to their consumers but nonetheless are demanding the government take the radioactive waste they are storing at their plants or compensate them. As part of this deal, the U.S. government made itself legally responsible for finding a permanent nuclear-waste storage facility.

nuke-reactor-dead

And, eventually, plants come to the end of their lives and must be decommissioned, another big expense that energy companies would like to be borne by someone else. The Heinrich Böll Stiftung studysays:

“[T]here is a significant mismatch between the interests of commercial concerns and society in general. Huge costs that will only be incurred far in the future have little weight in commercial decisions because such costs are “discounted.” This means that waste disposal costs and decommissioning costs, which are at present no more than ill-supported guesses, are of little interest to commercial companies. From a moral point of view, the current generation should be extremely wary of leaving such an uncertain, expensive, and potentially dangerous legacy to a future generation to deal with when there are no ways of reliably ensuring that the current generation can bequeath the funds to deal with them, much less bear the physical risk. Similarly, the accident risk also plays no part in decision-making because the companies are absolved of this risk by international treaties that shift the risk to taxpayers.” [page 17]

The British government, for instance, currently foots more than three-quarters of the bill for radioactive waste management and decommissioning, and for nuclear legacy sites. A report prepared for Parliament estimates that total public liability to date just for this program is around £50 billion, with tens of billions more to come……….http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/01/nuclear-energy-dangerous-to-your-wallet-not-only-the-environment/

 

January 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, decommission reactor, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un speaks on economy, no nuclear threats (unusual for him)

flag-N-KoreaKim Jong Un Focuses on Economy, Not Nukes, in New Year’s Speech VOA News January 01, 2016 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used his New Year’s Day address Friday to focus primarily on the importance of economic development, avoiding any explicit threats or references to his country’s nuclear weapons program……..

“We will continue to actively try to improve the North Korea-South Korea relations and will discuss issues regarding the (Korean) people and unification in an open-minded manner with anyone who sincerely wishes for the (Korean) people’s reconciliation, unity, peace and unification,” he said.

Kim also warned that his country was open to war if provoked by “invasive” outsiders.

He also spoke positively of the high-level talks agreed to this year with South Korea, which have offered the prospect of improved inter-Korean relations but so far delivered little in the way of concrete results…….http://www.voanews.com/content/kim-jong-un-focuses-on-economy-in-new-year-speech/3127151.html

January 1, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Price Anderson Act and other gifts to nuclear industry make it APPEAR to be economic

Nuclear Energy Dangerous to Your Wallet, Not Only the Environment, CounterPunch, by PETE DOLACK , 1 JAN 16  “………Liability caps for accidents are also routine. In the U.S., the Price-Anderson Act, in force since 1957, caps the total liability of nuclear operators in the event of a serious accident or attack to $10.5 billion. If the total is higher, as it surely would be, taxpayers would be on the hook for the rest. As a further sweetener, the Bush II/Cheney administration, in 2005, signed into law new nuclear subsidies and tax breaks worth $13 billion. The Obama administration, attempting its own nuclear push, has offered an additional $36 billion in federal loan guarantees to underwrite new reactor construction, again putting the risk on taxpayers, not investors.

text-Price-Anderson-ActThe Vermont Law School paper aptly sums up this picture with this conclusion:

“If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a nuclear accident and meet the alternatives in competition that is unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build a reactor today, and anyone who owned one would exit the nuclear business as quickly as they could.” [page 69]

If we had a rational economic system, they surely would.

Pete Dolack writes the Systemic Disorder blog. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/01/nuclear-energy-dangerous-to-your-wallet-not-only-the-environment/

January 1, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

PG&E Corporation deliberately delaying decision on future of Diablo Nuclear Station

Diablo nuclear power plant

As long as PG&E keeps its options open, the state’s progress toward a sustainably carbon-free energy grid remains in suspended animation

PG&E plays coy on the future of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, LA Times, Michael HiltzikContact Reporter, 1 Jan 16 The Economy Hub    “……..More than just the future of Diablo Canyon lies in limbo. The plant’s generating capacity of 2,160 megawatts affects the development of the state’s renewable electric resources. Although PG&E has asserted that the plant’s continued operation would save its customers as much as $16 billion during the additional 20 years, the cost of bringing Diablo Canyon into compliance with environmental and seismic mandates may in fact not be worth the effort. Continue reading

January 1, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Indonesia pulling the plug on nuclear power construction, for now, at least

text-NoIndonesia Vows No Nuclear Power Until 2050 http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/business/indonesia-vows-no-nuclear-power-2050/ Banda Aceh. Indonesia will not resort to nuclear energy to meet its target of 136.7 gigawatt of power capacity by 2025 and 430 gigawatt by 2050, a minister said on Saturday.

The move means a previous $8-billion plan to operate four nuclear plants with a total capacity of 6 gigawatt by 2025 will be canceled.

“We have arrived at the conclusion that this is not the time to build up nuclear power capacity. We still have many alternatives and we do not need to raise any controversies,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said said on Saturday in Banda Aceh.

The minister spoke after the National Energy Council, a presidential advisory body, completed its latest National Energy Plan, which is to be signed by President Joko Widodo to become a presidential regulation.

The plan, last revised in 2006, lays down the ground rules and guidelines for energy development in Indonesia, as well as the country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan from 2006 still left room for nuclear energy, but the latest guidelines say Indonesia should increase the use of renewable energy sources to 23 percent of its total primary energy — from the current target of 5 percent — by 2025.

Energy from coal is slashed to 30 percent from 33 percent previously, but Indonesia will rely more on oil, which is set to account for 25 percent of energy in the next decade, from the previous target of 20 percent.

Natural gas will contribute the remaining 22 percent to reach the 2025 target, Sudirman said, without providing details on the energy mix target for 2050.

The minister added that Indonesia will continue to follow developments in the field of nuclear technology and that it would remain a last-resort option for possible use beyond 2050.

While having experimented with nuclear power since the 1950s, Indonesia currently only operates three small-scale reactors: a 100-kilowatt reactor in Yogyakarta, a 250-kW reactor in Bandung and a 30-MW reactor in Serpong, in Banten.

A previous proposal to build larger-scale plants on Central Java’s Muria peninsula and in Bangka-Belitung met with resistance from local residents who feared leaks on the scale of the Fukushima disaster in equally earthquake-prone Japan.

Another place that was under consideration to host a nuclear power plant was Kalimantan, where there are no volcanoes and the relatively large distance from tectonic fault lines means the chance of devastating earthquakes is limited.

January 1, 2016 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | Leave a comment

Litany of health problems in US sailors exposed to Fukushima nuclear radiation

the plaintiffs have suffered a litany of health problems including cancer, tumors, brain defects, birth defects, early death and a wide variety of undiagnosed conditions. These are “very serious illnesses for a very large population of very young people

Even though it cannot be legally liable, the Defense Department seems to have been actively obstructing the sailors’ quest for justice.

justiceFlag-USAFukushima radiation causes debilitating deformities in US Navy sailors Thursday, December 31, 2015 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer (NaturalNews) U.S. Navy sailors and Marines dispatched to provide aid to Japan following the massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 are now suffering a variety of rare and undiagnosed health problems, including many involving horrifying and visible changes to their bodies.

After the tsunami, the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, led by the USS Ronald Reagan, was diverted to the coast of Japan to provide relief work. The soldiers were not told that the disaster had triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, or that a radioactive plume was spreading across the Pacific Ocean.

Aviation Bosun’s Mate Dagan Honda and Aviation Structural Mechanic Ron Wright say they spent all day nearly every day of the mission on the deck of the Reagan, loading supplies. For roughly the first week of the mission, the sailors were given no radiation protection.

“So these sailors literally were marinating in radioactive particles,” said Attorney Charles Bonner, who is representing more than 200 sailors and Marines in a class action lawsuit against Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and several other defendants. Continue reading

January 1, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Cost overruns are the norm for building nuclear power plants, but investors don’t pay

scrutiny-on-costsNuclear Energy Dangerous to Your Wallet, Not Only the Environment, CounterPunch, by PETE DOLACK , 1 JAN 16  “……..Significant cost overruns are the norm in building nuclear power plants, and it isn’t investors who are on the hook for them.

Three nuclear projects are under construction in the United States and two in Western Europe, a group that features an assortment of cost overruns and generous guarantees:

*The two new Vogtle reactors in Georgia are already $3 billion over budget although their completion date is three and a half years away. The largest owner, Southern Company, has received $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees. Overruns at this plant are not unprecedented; the two existing reactors cost $8.7 billion instead of the promised $600 million, resulting in higher electricity rates.

*The Watts Bar 2 nuclear reactor in Tennessee, which received its license to operate in October, has seen its cost rise to $6.1 billion from $2.5 billion. (This is technically a restart of a unit on which construction was suspended in 1985.) The existing reactor at this site has a history of safety problems.

*The Summer 2 and 3 reactors being built in South Carolina have already caused rate payers there to endure a series of rate increases. Cost overruns just since 2012 have totaled almost $2 billion.

*In October 2013, British authorities approved a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point, England, that features subsidies designed to give the owner, Électricité de France, aguaranteed 10 percent rate of return on the project. Power from the plant will be sold at a fixed price, indexed to the consumer inflation rate. In other words, The Independentreports, “should the market price fall below that [agreed-upon] levelthe Government would make up the difference.” The agreed-upon fixed price set by the Cameron government at the time was double the wholesale price for electricity.

*Olkiluoto-3 in Finland was supposed to have cost €3 billion, but is 10 years behind schedule and €5 billion over budget.

High costs despite high subsidies…….. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/01/nuclear-energy-dangerous-to-your-wallet-not-only-the-environment/

January 1, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

January 1 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

Paris Fails to Revive the Nuclear Dream • At COP21, nuclear advocates made pitches on climate change, but analysis of the plans of 195 governments that signed the Paris agreement, each with its own plans to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power. [EcoWatch]

Reactor at Qinshan: Many experts doubt that China can go far to meeting its needs with nuclear power. Photo credit: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Reactor at Qinshan: Many experts doubt that China can go far to meeting its needs with nuclear power. Photo credit: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

Science and Technology:

¶ Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, recently tweeted some charts about CO2 and global temperatures. They tell a compelling story. Climate change has not slowed down; it has been unrelenting. The result, unless we act vigorously, is disaster on many fronts. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ In normal times, a months-long slide in energy prices would be enough to rattle a man…

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January 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Work Involving Nuclear Materials OFTEN Requires High-Grade QA” Says Lockheed Martin Operated Sandia Labs – How About ALWAYS Requires High-Grade Quality Assurance?

Mining Awareness +

Work involving nuclear materials often requires high-grade QA” says Sandia Labs, operated by Lockheed Martin!

The difference between often and always, in this context, can be a nuclear-radiological accident. Is this why a Sandia-Lockheed Martin worker, Mark Miller, supported the recent proposal to raise radiation exposure to the general public by the nuclear industry to be 400 times greater than the maximum currently allowed by the US EPA – i.e. to raise it from 0.25 mSv (25 mrem) per year up to 100 mSv per year, i.e. 10,000 mrem? See: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057-0010

Sandia QA often not always
http://energy.sandia.gov/wp-content/gallery/uploads/QA.pdf

Sandia grades the quality assurance rigor based on customer needs.” It needs to be based on worker and public safety not “customer needs” which may be to cut corners and costs to make more money-increase stock value.

Is this nit-picking? Maybe, but with nuclear-radiation safety, lack of linguistic rigor and lack of mental rigor…

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January 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#DriggLockTheGate: letter to Cumbria County Council

DRIGG between the sea Irish and the river Irt Drigg Low Level Waste Repository (Nuclear Waste Dump) between the Irish Sea and the River Irt.

Please write to Cumbria County Council (see letter below for ideas, make it as short or long as you like) and oppose the expansion of Drigg – it is a uniquely vulnerable nuclear waste dump.

Write to: to Cumbria County Council at : developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk

Application 4/11/9007 Low Level Waste Repository Site Optimisation and Closure Works.

There is also a petition here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/lock-the-gate-on-drigg-the-uks-nuclear-waste-site
Sent Wednesday 30th December 2015 to Cumbria County Councillors

Dear Cumbria County Councillors,
Early in 2016 (date tbc) Cumbria County Council will be considering the
plan to extend Drigg nuclear waste site. “Planning Application 4/11/9007
Low Level Waste Repository Site Optimisation and Closure Works.” Below
are just a few of the many reasons why Cumbria County Council must
question the assumption that Drigg should continue to accept radioactive
waste.

1. CLOSURE: The…

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January 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amidst Disasters Around the World, Top Scientists Declare Links Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

But it is in the North Atlantic that the influences of human-forced climate change upon the weather are starting grow most starkly clear. There the impact of El Nino is far less obvious. During a typical strong El Nino year, storms tend to form more-so over Iceland. And we’ve seen that. But in the past, El Nino years have also tended to bring colder weather to Scandinavia as the Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream strengthened and locked cold air into the higher Latitudes. However, this year, as in recent years, the Barents Sea has been freakishly warm. This region, which during the 20th Century featured much more sea ice than today, is now mostly ice free. And this broad section of open water vents heat into the atmosphere, warming Scandinavia and providing a weakness in the Jet Stream for warm air invasions of the Arctic.

“Today The New York Times is…

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January 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment