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Desperate marketing drive brings giant nuclear corporations together

nuclear-marketing-crapGreat power relations: How the US, China and India will forge new partnerships on nuclear energy in 2016, South China Morning Post,  James Wertsch, Shen Dingli and Swaran Singh say this year will see greater collaboration between the world’s three largest polluters – the US, China and India – following their pledges to move away from fossil fuels, 05 January, 2016

This year is set to be the year when the US forges new nuclear partnerships with China and India, and could explore joint projects in third countries, with Westinghouse Electric and the Hualong nuclear power company in negotiations for such ventures. But, given previous mutual security and non-proliferation concerns, this newfound enthusiasm may also be breeding new anxieties.
global nuclear conglomerate

To begin with, complicated and long-winded structural integrity tests have just been declared successful for two of the four Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power reactors being set up in China’s Zhejiang ( 浙江 ) and Shandong (山東) provinces. These should become operational in September and December respectively. Westinghouse is also in final stages of negotiations for six of the same type of reactor for Gujarat in India.

At a price tag of some US$5 billion to US$6 billion per reactor, such reports are boosting the share price of Westinghouse, which is negotiating to buy parts of the French nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva. It reportedly needs US$7.7 billion to balance its books. Areva’s losses are also allowing China’s Hualong to emerge as the new cost-effective player in the sensitive global nuclear market. That explains why US firms are tying up with China……

….US firms partly owned by Japan’s Toshiba and Hitachi, which explains the changing geopolitics as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month signed the long-awaited Indo-Japanese deal clearing the decks for American firms to deliver nuclear technology to India….

The coming together of the US, China and India in building nuclear partnerships has been expedited because Russian, French, Canadian and Kazakh firms have not been deterred by India’s domestic situation or legislation. Given this reality, the US – which originally facilitated India’s entry into global nuclear commerce – was beginning to look like a loser. Russia remains India’s largest supplier of nuclear reactors and the two last month signed another agreement for an additional 12 reactors.

Most interestingly, 2016 will see China entering the Indian market as well; not necessarily as a partner with US firms but as a new competitor. As well as working with India as members of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, China has a history of supplying heavy water and uranium fuel to New Delhi. The two began negotiating nuclear cooperation during President Xi Jinping’s ( 習近平 ) visit to India in September 2014 and China is keen to help build India’s energy security infrastructure. Beijing has also been exploring markets in Southeast Asia.

China’s Hualong One nuclear reactor has earned enough experience at home and prestige abroad to make it suitable for exploring new global partnerships. Last October, during Xi’s visit to the UK, he announced US$9 billion worth of investment for France’s EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation to build three power plants in the UK, which is expected to see Hualong-designed reactors go global.

India, as always, is never far behind. Since 2010, it has been offering to export its pressurised heavy water reactors, which may be ideal for states with smaller power grids. Last month again, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow, Russia and India began negotiations on exploring joint third-country projects.

The recent shale revolution may have reinforced US energy supremacy, but it has also seen oil prices fall relentlessly, making large oil importers like China and India save their dollar reserves and invest in expensive nuclear technology. All this is whipping up US business interests that will redefine the proverbial “American exceptionalism”, especially in the global governance of nuclear commerce. It will also see the US explore more innovative ways in co-opting the interests of a rising China and emerging India, giving them a greater say in global nuclear decision-making.

James Wertsch is vice-chancellor for international relations at Washington University in St Louis, Shen Dingli is associate dean at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, and Swaran Singh is professor of disarmament studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1898090/great-power-relations-how-us-china-and-india-will-forge-new

 

January 6, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, marketing | 1 Comment

28 years later Japan’s costly nuclear recycling complex is still not working

Rokkkasho-reprocessing-planJapan’s $25 Billion Nuclear Recycling Quest Enters 28th Year, Bloomberg   sstapczynski  January 5, 2016 It’s designed to recycle spent uranium from Japan’s nuclear power plants, consists of more than three dozen buildings spread over 740 hectares (1,829 acres), costs almost $25 billion and has been under construction for nearly three decades. Amount of fuel successfully reprocessed for commercial use: zero.

Under construction since the late 1980s, the complex is designed to turn nuclear waste into fuel by separating out plutonium and usable uranium. The start date of the project has now been pushed back for the 23rd time, with operations set to commence in 2018.

The money continuing to pour into the Rokkasho reprocessing complex in a northeast corner of Japan’s main island of Honshu is raising speculation that attention is being diverted from more-promising avenues of energy development, including renewables.

 “Reprocessing is an idea that seemed good to many in the nuclear industry when it was first proposed, but with time and experience has proven to be uneconomical,” M. V. Ramana, a professor at Princeton University’s Nuclear Futures Laboratory, said by e-mail. “There is a lot of sense in the idea that Japan should just cut its losses and stop trying to get this plant to operate.”……..

Construction on Rokkasho, the heart of the endeavor, was supposed to be completed by 1997. Delays due to technical and safety issues have kept it from operating commercially while costs ballooned to an estimated 2.94 trillion yen ($24.6 billion), according to Japan Nuclear Fuel. The Japanese government and the country’s power industry view fuel reprocessing generally, and Rokkasho specifically, as one of the only ways to lower import dependence and find a home for thousands of tons of highly radioactive spent fuel. Japan has about 17,000 metric tons of spent fuel, almost 3,000 tons of which are stored at Rokkasho.
The facility was originally intended to separate plutonium from spent fuel for use in so-called fast-breeder reactors — plants that produce more fuel than they consume.

While the nation’s first prototype fast-breeder reactor has remained closed due to its own technical issues, Rokkasho expanded construction to include a facility that processes plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide fuel, known as MOX, that can be used in some of Japan’s existing reactors…… http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-04/japan-s-25-billion-nuclear-recycling-quest-enters-28th-year

January 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry really has only one likely future: reactor decommissioning

Nuclear utilities and the nuclear industry in general badly need a reality check. The traditional utilities, nuclear or not, need to learn to sell something other than kilowatt-hours or they will not survive the ongoing energy revolution. And the reactor-building industry might want to turn to a safe haven: reactor decommissioning. Building these machines has turned out to be too expensive and too slow. The deconstructing business will only expand. Guaranteed.
Decommissioning
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (US): The experts on nuclear power and climate change http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/Bulletin-of-the-Atomic-Scientists-US-The-experts-on-nuclear-power-and-climate19 December 2015, by Mycle Schneider

Invited Expert Commentary by Mycle Schneider

The stock market did not hear the call. The claim of four climate mousquetaires at a side event of the Paris climate talks that “nuclear has tremendous potential to be part of the solution to climate change” was lost in space. One day after that enthusiastic statement by former NASA scientist James Hansen, a member of the illustrious quartet, the share value of the largest nuclear operator in the world, the French state-controlled Électricité de France (EDF), dropped to its historic low, a 42-percent plunge since the beginning of the year and an 84-percent meltdown in eight years. On Monday, December 7, Euronext ejected EDF, “pillar of the Paris Stock Exchange”, from France’s key stock market index, known as CAC40. On Tuesday, December 8, EDF shares lost another four percent of their value. Two days later, the trade union representatives at the Central Enterprise Committee of EDF—unanimously and for the first time—launched an official “economic alert procedure” considering the “seriousness of the situation.”

These latest developments come as no surprise to analysts familiar with the international nuclear industry. Credit-rating agencies have warned for years that the launch of nuclear new-build projects are considered “credit-negative.” In October 2015, investment bank Investec advised clients to sell EDF shares amid fears that its connection with the nuclear plant project at Hinkley Point in the UK could put payouts to shareholders under threat. One month later, the French and British governments announced the signature of a framework agreement on a financing package including Chinese partners for the construction two French-built European Pressurized water Reactors (EPR) at Hinkley Point. The federation of EDF employee-shareholders EAS said in a statement that the interests of their company would be “gravely threatened” by the Hinkley Point project, calling it “a financial catastrophe foretold.” EAS asked the management of EDF “to stop this risky project, whose financial risks are too big for our company and which could put EDF’s very survival at risk.” Is EDF facing its Waterloo 200 years after Napoleon’s defeat?

Launched as a response to the Chernobyl disaster almost 30 years ago, not a single so-called Generation-III+ EPR reactor is generating power anywhere in the world.

In the meantime, the self-proclaimed “global leader in nuclear energy,” the French state-controlled AREVA, went bankrupt. After a cumulate loss of €8 billion ($8.7 billion) over the past four years, equivalent to its annual turnover, and a debt load of €6 billion ($6.5 billion), the company will not survive the year in its current form. AREVA is already deep in “junk” territory when it comes to its credit-rating, and its share value has eroded by 92 percent since 2008, hitting a new low on December 17. The government’s rescue strategy—forcing EDF to absorb AREVA’s reactor business—is in-turn increasing the risk for EDF. A significant barrier for the conclusion of the rescue deal remains the multibillion-euro liability of the Hinkley Point predecessor projects in Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flamanville, France. The EPR construction in Finland started 10 years ago. The plant was to begin generating carbon-free electricity by 2009 and was part of the country’s greenhouse gas abatement strategy. Now, the plant is scheduled to produce power in “late 2018.” The sister plant in France is not doing any better—on the contrary. Construction started in 2007 with completion planned for 2012. Officially, the current target date is the same as for the Finnish project. The investment-cost estimate exploded by more than a factor of three to €10.5 billion ($11.4 billion), and this is likely not the last word. In addition, EDF struggles with a €37.5 billion ($40.7 billion) debt burden, rapidly increasing production costs in its aging nuclear fleet, significant post-Fukushima and other investment needs, and a shrinking client base, with declining consumption levels over the past four years in a row.

The international outlook is not any rosier. There have been 40 reactors connected to the world’s power grids in 10 years—representing a negligible share of the overall added electricity generating capacity—after an average construction time of close to 10 years. Some 60 units now under construction have been in the building stage for an average of 7.5 years; at least three-quarters are delayed, four have been listed as “under construction” for over 30 years. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s International Energy Agency projects in its “New Policy Scenario” a net addition of 222 GW over the coming 25 years. This compares with the net nuclear addition of 22 GW over the past 25 years—which illustrates the level of wishful thinking in current international projections.

You can spend a euro or a dollar only once. The investment in new nuclear reactors leads to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions as other options—notably intelligent energy services (like daylighting) that don’t depend on active systems, end-use and production efficiency, and now renewables—are not only considerably cheaper, they are much faster to implement.

Nuclear utilities and the nuclear industry in general badly need a reality check. The traditional utilities, nuclear or not, need to learn to sell something other than kilowatt-hours or they will not survive the ongoing energy revolution. And the reactor-building industry might want to turn to a safe haven: reactor decommissioning. Building these machines has turned out to be too expensive and too slow. The deconstructing business will only expand. Guaranteed.

More…

January 6, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | 1 Comment

USA nuclear weapons manufacture: the job that produced 80,000 cancers

the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research has maintained that the actual number of fatal cancers caused by nuclear testing could be 17,000. Of course, a larger number of people contracted cancer from nuclear testing than actually died of it. The government study estimated that those who contracted cancer numbered at least 80,000 Americans.

Open thread for night owls: Building the U.S. nuclear arsenal has killed thousands http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/1/4/1466115/-Open-thread-for-night-owls-Building-the-U-S-nuclear-arsenal-has-killed-thousands  By Meteor Blades   Jan 05, 2016 Lawrence Wittner writes—American Casualties of the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program When Americans think about nuclear weapons, they comfort themselves with the thought that the vast, nuclear destruction of human life has not taken place since 1945—at least not yet. But, in reality, nuclear weapon-related destruction has taken place, with shocking levels of U.S. casualties.

This point is borne out by a recently-published study by a team of investigative journalists at McClatchy News. Drawing upon millions of government records and large numbers of interviews, they concluded that employment in the nation’s nuclear weapons plants since 1945 led to 107,394 American workers contracting cancer and other serious diseases. Of these people, some 53,000 judged by government officials to have experienced excessive radiation on the job received $12 billion in compensation under the federal government’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. And 33,480 of these workers have died.

How could this happen? Let’s examine the case of Byron Vaigneur. In October 1975, he saw a brownish sludge containing plutonium break through the wall of his office and start pooling near his desk at the Savannah River, South Carolina nuclear weapons plant. Subsequently, he contracted breast cancer, as well as chronic beryllium disease, a debilitating respiratory condition. Vaigneur, who had a mastectomy to cut out the cancer, is today on oxygen, often unable to walk more than a hundred feet. Declaring he’s ready to die, he has promised to donate his body to science in the hope that it will help save the lives of other people exposed to deadly radiation.

Actually, workers in nuclear weapons plants constitute only a fraction of Americans whose lives have been ravaged by preparations for nuclear war. A 2002 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintained that, between 1951 and 1963 alone, the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons — more than half of it done by the United States — killed 11,000 Americans through cancer. As this estimate does not include internal radiation exposure caused by inhaling or swallowing radioactive particles, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research has maintained that the actual number of fatal cancers caused by nuclear testing could be 17,000. Of course, a larger number of people contracted cancer from nuclear testing than actually died of it. The government study estimated that those who contracted cancer numbered at least 80,000 Americans.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Ralph Nader points to a book on America’s renewable energy future

Nader,-RalphRalph Nader: Building a renewable energy future – OpEd December 26, 2015. The U.S. has some big problems that require bold solutions. Unfortunately, books about solutions to our society’s problems are often given short shrift by reviewers or languish on our bookshelves. As I often say, this country has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it uses. Now comes S. David Freeman. …

In January of 2016, in collaboration with his coauthor, Leah Y. Parks, he will publish a new and important book about our energy future: All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future. The book is scathing but optimistic, and manages to be bold while remaining pragmatic. …

Book All Electric America

When All-Electric America comes out … you will have a chance to make yourself knowledgeable about the real avenues available to us to transform our energy infrastructure for present and future generations by moving toward a new renewable energy economy with far more jobs, health, efficiency and security benefits than there are in relying on hydrocarbons and radioactive atoms.

To listen to my interview with David Freeman, visit ralphnaderradiohour.com

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/995499655991750743

January 6, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

Large shipment of plutonium to travel from Japan to South Carolina

ship radiationJapan to send huge cache of plutonium to South Carolina under nuclear deal: report RAW STORY  05 JAN 2016 Japan will send a huge cache of plutonium — enough to produce 50 nuclear bombs — to the United States as part of a deal to return the material that was used for research, reports and officials said Tuesday.

The plutonium stockpile, provided by the US, Britain and France decades ago, has caused some disquiet given that Japan has said it has the ability to produce a nuclear weapon even if it chooses not to.

 Some 331 kilograms (730 pounds) of the highly fissionable material will be sent by ship to a nuclear facility in South Carolina by the end of March, Kyodo News reported Monday in a dispatch from Washington that cited unnamed Japanese government sources.

The shipment, which comes ahead of a nuclear security summit in Washington in March, is meant to underscore both countries’ commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and is part of a deal they made in 2014.

It will be one of Japan’s most significant overseas movements of plutonium since it transported one tonne from France in 1993 to be used in nuclear reactor experiments.

That shipment triggered an outcry at the time from countries citing environmental and security concerns.

A Japanese official confirmed the amount of plutonium to be sent to the US and said that preparations for the shipment are under way. “But we can’t comment on further details, including the departure date and route, for security reasons,” the official in the nuclear technology section at the education ministry told AFP Tuesday.

The material has been stored at the Nuclear Science Research Institute northeast of Tokyo, he added…….https://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/japan-to-send-huge-cache-of-plutonium-to-south-carolina-under-nuclear-deal-report/

January 6, 2016 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, USA | Leave a comment

Intense unpopularity of nuclear industry in South Korea

About 11,000 county residents participated in the referendum. Of them, nearly 92 percent voted against a nuclear power plant.
flag-S-KoreaBitter Debate Over Nuclear Power Simmers in Rural South Korea, NYT By  JAN. 5, 2016“……… in 2010, the 399 mostly older people who made up the population of three villages agreed to give up their land and their centuries-old way of life to make room for something few other places wanted: a nuclear power plant.

That act plunged the surrounding Yeongdeok County into a bitter debate over whether the plant would be a savior or a death knell. The clash also revealed the depth of despair in South Korea’s increasingly empty rural communities, as well as growing misgivings about the country’s heavy dependence on nuclear power…….

villagers like Shin Wang-ki, 56, who grows pears, apples and peaches and believed that a plant would mean the end to a longstanding and cherished way of life.

“No way! Who’s going to buy fruits or crabs from an area near a nuclear power plant?” he said. “I inherited a clean land from my ancestors and want to leave it untainted for my children.”……..

In 2012, South Korea selected Yeongdeok and Samcheok, a coastal city to the north, as sites for new reactors.

Yet by then, skepticism — and anxiety — was spreading. First came the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. Then came another shock: Reports that emerged after a series of scandals revealed that nuclear power plants across South Korea had been using parts whose safety test results were faked.

Last year, a new mayor in Samcheok called a referendum in which residents voted against the decision made under the previous mayor. When the mayor of Yeongdeok refused to do likewise, residents opposed to the plant began organizing and outside activists poured in. They called a referendum on their own in November.

The government and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company, the country’s operator of nuclear power plants, urged residents not to take part in the referendum, which they called illegal because a state project was not subject to a county-level plebiscite. They also accused the outsiders of bringing antinuclear activism here to impede an important national project. Antinuclear villagers went on hunger strikes, accusing Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power executives of bribing older villagers with watermelons and other gifts.

“People yelled at each other,” said Kwon Tae-hwan, who runs a local Internet news site. “They waged a war of banners, every single back alley strung with rival placards.”

About 11,000 county residents participated in the referendum. Of them, nearly 92 percent voted against a nuclear power plant.

Antinuclear activists claimed victory, while the government dismissed the result and reconfirmed its plan to build a plant here.The civil disobedience in Yeongdeok represented only one of the many challenges South Korea’s nuclear power industry faced, problems it never had to confront when the first reactor went into operation in 1978 under an authoritarian government. In June, a government committee warned that beginning in 2019, old plants would run out of storage space for high-level radioactive wastes. The country urgently needed to build a new, central repository for such wastes, it said.

But the government could not even start looking. Residents of Miryang, a village in the southeast, have recently staged prolonged protests, including a self-immolation, to oppose a far smaller potential hazard: high-voltage transmission towers to carry electricity from a distant nuclear plant…….Residents on both sides of the nuclear question are waiting for parliamentary elections in April, when candidates from Yeongdeok will be asked to take sides.

“Among people here, what the government said used to be the law and truth,” said Kim Eok-nam, 47, who believed his dream of marketing organic farm produce would evaporate with the arrival of a nuclear plant. “But over this nuclear power project, we will show we are no rural pushover.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/world/asia/south-korea-nuclear-power.html?_r=0

January 6, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Korea | Leave a comment

China’s state-owned nuclear companies get together in export marketing drive

Buy-China-nukes-1State-owned enterprises eye overseas power projects, Nikkei Asian Review TETSUYA ABE, Nikkei staff writer BEIJING  5 Jan 16, — The global nuclear industry is likely to be another area where China’s growing presence will be keenly felt, as the government and state-owned corporations are working hand in hand to win overseas contracts. This development worries critics who are concerned about nuclear safety issues, as well as Beijing’s seeming lack of commitment to nuclear nonproliferation.United front  In their meeting on Dec. 30, Sun Qin, chairman of China National Nuclear Corp., and He Yu, his counterpart at CGN, agreed to join hands to better compete with Western rivals in their pursuit to cultivate overseas nuclear power plant markets.

The two came to the National Development and Reform Commission’s building in Beijing on that day to sign an agreement to set up a joint venture. The new company, to be capitalized at 500 million yuan ($76.5 million), will handle export of Hualong One, a pressurized water reactor model that China claims to have developed on its own.

CNNC and CGN, each of which is a major player that ranks within the top three in the Chinese nuclear industry, are coming together with an eye toward increasing the chance of winning orders in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Continue reading

January 6, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, China, marketing, politics, Reference | Leave a comment

Climate change is altering Greenland ice sheet, accelerating sea level rise

Date:January 4, 2016

Source:
York University
Summary:
The Greenland ice sheet has traditionally been pictured as a sponge for glacier meltwater, but new research has found it’s rapidly losing the ability to buffer its contribution to rising sea levels, say researchers. They have also found that climate change has caused meltwater from lower elevations to run directly into the sea…….http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104130436.htm

January 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Timeline of major incidents at Los Alamos National Laboratory

2013: A waste container at the lab is packaged with a volatile mix of nitrate salts and organic kitty litter and is shipped to WIPP.

Feb. 14, 2014: The container ruptures in the underground WIPP facility, leaking radiation. Several workers are exposed, although levels are not considered a health hazard. WIPP is closed indefinitely.

March-December 2014: Federal investigators issue scathing reports finding multiple problems with how waste is handled at the lab. One report finds workers who tried to alert supervisors to problems with waste containers were ignored.

Los-Alamos

Chronology of major incidents marking Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management history, Local News, Santa Fe, New Mexico , 4 Jan 16 The New Mexican

Jan. 1, 1943: A secret national laboratory is set up in Los Alamos to design a nuclear bomb during World War II. The University of California is named the official lab manager and is paid $5 million for a one-year contract. The U.S. Department of Energy oversees the lab’s operations. J. Robert Oppenheimer is the lab’s director.

1945: An atomic bomb is tested at the Trinity Site in Southern New Mexico on July 16, ushering in the nuclear age………

1988: A new federal law gives the Department of Energy more leverage over lab contractors. The University of California at Los Alamos National Laboratory is exempted from the law. Continue reading

January 6, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

India’s People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) aim top stop nuclear expansion in Tamil Nadu

Campaign against expanding nuclear projects in TN, THE HINDU, 5 Jan 16  As negotiations between India and Russia are in the advanced stages for installing the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant anti-nuclear activists have intensified their campaign against the expansion
india-antinukeof nuclear assets in Kalpakkam and Kudankulam.

Distributing pamphlets to the public advocating against nuclear power at the Egmore Railway Station on Monday, S.P. Udayakumar, Convenor of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) said, “As the first unit in Kudankulam is not operational for over six months and the second unit is further delayed, we have serious doubts about the project.”

Claiming that the project was “inherently flawed” and the components supplied to the project were sub-standard, he said the Site Evaluation Report, Safety Analysis Report and the Environment Impact Assessment Report, which were to be made available to them as per the Central Information Commission’s order were not provided yet, as the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited had obtained a stay on the order in the Delhi High Court in 2014……http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/campaign-against-expanding-nuclear-projects-in-tn/article8066591.ece

January 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK L:abour leader Corbyn names Trident nuclear critic as shadow defence secretary


Corbyn names Trident nuclear critic as shadow defence secretary,
Ft.com By Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent, 5 Jan 16  Emily Thornberry, a critic of the Trident nuclear deterrent, has been appointed as Labour’s shadow defence secretary in the most significant change in Jeremy Corbyn’s first reshuffle.

The Labour leader shifted Maria Eagle, the previous defence spokeswoman, to the culture brief as he seeks to take Labour back to its 1980s position of unilateral nuclear disarmament……..

an important step towards shifting party policy over nuclear weapons, although the leader will still face tough opposition from MPs and many union officials who back Trident. ….http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/fe69d4fe-b40f-11e5-8358-9a82b43f6b2f.html#axzz3wQGuTYie

January 6, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

South Africa’s nuclear energy project is not likely to succeed

Why South Africa’s nuclear energy plan will likely fail By  January 5, 2016 South Africa will likely fail in its quest to develop its nuclear energy capacity, according to emerging markets economist Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura.

Montalto told Fin24 that if the 9 600 MW nuclear procurement programme does see the light of day, it will be a “slimmed down programme spread over a longer period of time, given the affordability issue”.

“For this reason we need to remain calm, but vigilant,” he said. “The end point remains uncertain.”…..

Questioning South Africa’s transparency, Montalto said the decision to gazette so close to Christmas strengthens the perception that the government has “signed non-public agreements with Russia” to award its state-owned company, Rosatom, the nuclear contract.

Rosatom prematurely announced it had won the contract in 2014, after President Jacob Zuma secretly visited Russia. It later retracted its statement and told Fin24 in 2015 that it was a public relations mistake.

Controversy over Rosatom’s announcement intensified after a local newspaper reported Zuma personally negotiated the deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin,” AFP reported in 2014.

Regardless of these perceptions, Montalto said, there needs to be more transparency on what advice National Treasury has provided and the sequencing of their advice compared to the process of moving to tender.

“I still believe no formal sign off on affordability under any financing option has been provided by National Treasury and indeed that it remains totally unaffordable under any financing model including vendor financing,” he said.

“The next steps are likely to be murky as tenders are requested and then submitted along with financing models.

“Parliament and the courts will likely be crucial through this stage in providing transparency,” he said. http://businesstech.co.za/news/energy/108051/why-south-africas-nuclear-energy-plan-will-likely-fail/

January 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Russia has potential to be very competitive in renewable energy market

flag_RussiaRussia can be one of the most energy-competitive areas based on renewables, EurekAlert, 30 d3ec15 LAPPEENRANTA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY A fully renewable energy system is achievable and economically viable in Russia and Central Asia in 2030. Researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) modelled a renewable energy system for Russia and Central Asia. Results show that renewable energy is the cheapest option for the continent and can make Russia a very energy competitive region in the future.

According to the research, a 100 percent renewable energy system for Russia and Central Asia would be roughly 50 percent lower in cost than a system based on latest European nuclear technology or carbon capture and storage. Renewable energy covers electricity and industrial natural gas demand, not, for example, transport or heating.

“We think that this is the first ever 100% renewable energy system modelling for Russia and Central Asia. It demonstrates that Russia can become one of the most energy-competitive regions in the world”, emphasises professor Christian Breyer, co-author of the study.

Moving to a renewable energy system is possible due to the abundance of various types of renewable energy resources in the area. This then enables the building of a Super Grid, which connects different energy resources of the researched area……..

The research was done as part of Neo-Carbon Energy research project, which has previously shown that a renewable energy system is also economically sensible in North-East Asia, South-East Asia, South America and Finland. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-12/luot-rcb123015.php

January 6, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Russia | 1 Comment

Old nuclear stations in Belgium are a worry for neighbouring Dutch

Dutch fear impact of Belgian nuclear power plant problems http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/01/dutch-fear-impact-of-belgian-nuclear-power-plant-problems/ January 4, 2016 The Dutch government should be involved in solving problems at the Belgian nuclear power station in Doel, according to Dutch opposition parties in the AD. One reactor at the power station, on the banks of the Schelde estuary just over the border, was shut down at the weekend just days after being restarted following repairs.

Two other reactors were closed for a time last year after hairline cracks were found. One of those was also shut down shortly after being restarted because of a leak. Capacity The power plant was first opened in 1975 and should have been decommissioned last year. However, the Belgian authorities have agreed to keep it operational for a further 10 years because of a shortage of capacity.

‘The reactors are so old that if something goes wrong, the problem will not be confined to Belgium,’ D66 parliamentarian Stientje van Veldhoven told the AD. ‘When things of such importance are at stake, its only logical to involve the Netherlands in decisions about whether it should remain open.’ The AD says the mayors of several Dutch border towns, including Roosendaal and Bergen op Zoom, also want the cabinet to get involved. Joint inspections Nos said later on Monday that agreement has been reached between the Netherlands and Belgium that a joint inspection by nuclear safety inspectors will take place on January 20.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: Dutch fear impact of Belgian nuclear power plant problems http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/01/dutch-fear-impact-of-belgian-nuclear-power-plant-problems/

January 6, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment