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More problems for Japans reactors – Takahama Nuclear Power Station

arclight-SmOtsu(Japan) District Court issued a decision of provisional disposition order a stop of operation for
Takahama Nuclear Power Station Unit 3 and Unit 4 in Fukui Prefecture

Source . Japanese only

Google translate;

Takahamagenpatsu Units 3 and 4 operation command stop temporary injunction decision
O’clock March 9 19 34 minutes
Takahamagenpatsu Units 3 and 4 operation command stop temporary injunction decision
For Takahama Nuclear Power Station Unit 3 and Unit 4 in Fukui Prefecture, Otsu District Court, as “I fear that residents of life and property is threatened is higher, Kansai Electric Power is not doing explained ensure the safety” for the first time against the nuclear power plant in operation, it issued a decision of provisional disposition order a stop of operation. Kansai Electric Power Co. has decided to lodge an objection, but no longer must be stopped as soon as possible reactor by this decision.
The Kansai Electric Power Co., Takahamagenpatsu Unit 3 and Unit 4 in Fukui Prefecture, Shiga Prefecture of 29 inhabitants, last January before the re-operation, had filed a provisional disposition to seek the suspension of operation. For this, Yoshihiko presiding judge Yamamoto of Otsu District Court on March 9, issued a decision to call a halt of Unit 3 and Unit 4 of the operation.
Determining fault of investigation, “Kansai Electric Power Co. has made in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant is in, after not been thoroughly carried out in all of the neighborhood, there is no scientifically objection small sample method for evaluating the maximum of the shaking of an earthquake He pointed out that can not be considered “a way. Sonouede, “accident measures and tsunami measures in light of the nuclear accident in Fukushima, despite the high risk, which is also threatened life and property. Residents that questions remain about the evacuation plan, Kansai Electric Power Co. for ensuring the safety of the description as doing is not “, it issued a decision to call a halt of Unit 3 and Unit 4 of the operation.
Decision further, “in order to avoid seriously size (gentleman) to face the same kind of an accident of the Fukushima accident, but essential to carry out the investigation of the cause thoroughly, is the company’s explanation of this point not enough. I pointed out that the very feel anxiety, “if this is the attitude that does not focus on the cause of investigation, such as a company.
Kansai Electric Power Co., which is a policy challenge to seek the cancellation of the decision of the 9th, provisional disposition is no longer should immediately order to effect occurs, if not promptly stop the Unit 3 of the nuclear reactor in operation. The determination of the provisional disposition order a stop of the operation of the nuclear power plant in operation is the first time.
Takahamagenpatsu is, Unit 3 in this year January, the Unit 4 in the last month, but was re-run under the new regulatory standards, in the Unit 4 reactor on September 29 three days after the re-operation is automatic trouble to stop has occurred. In addition, around the Unit 3 and Unit 4 Takahamagenpatsu, Fukui District Court last year in April, but was a decision of provisional disposition do not allow the re-operation, another of the presiding judge this decision of the Fukui District Court in December last year cancellation, and the decision to allow the re-operation.
Petition to the court to seek so as not to operate the nuclear power plant is not one after another across the country in the wake of the nuclear accident five years ago, this decision, which ordered a stop to the nuclear power plant in the running, the impact on the future of the trial around the country It will also be expected to give.
Kansai Electric Power Co. to tomorrow 20:00 around shutdown
Kansai Electric Power Co. has held a press conference at the head office of the Osaka Kita-ku, from 9:00 pm 6. Company side in this is, for Unit 3 of the nuclear reactor in operation, enter the stop work from around 10:00 Sunday morning 10, it has revealed a policy to stop at around 20:00.
Sonouede, as the determination of the provisional disposition not possibly be approved, it was to clarify the policy of the appeal to the court to seek the decision of the revocation order a stop of operation.
On the other hand, Kansai Electric Power Co., last month, along with the re-operation of the nuclear power plant, but had announced a policy of price cuts the electricity charges from May this year, in May at the company side, the determination of the provisional disposition at a press conference of the 9th price cut from showed a recognition that became difficult.
Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. “lodge promptly appeal that unacceptable.”
The determination of the provisional disposition Kansai Electric Power Co. announced the comments considered “extremely not available understanding of our claims in court regret, not as it can possibly Shofuku. In accordance with this decision, Takahamagenpatsu while driving safety a top priority to stop the Unit 3, but carried out the procedure for promptly appeal the future, so that’ll cancel the provisional disposition order at an early stage, we are and do our best “to prove that the claim of Takahamagenpatsu Unit 3 and Unit 4 of safety.
Chief Cabinet Secretary “re-running policy is unchanged.”
Kan Chief Cabinet Secretary 9 days of afternoon press conference, “We are aware of is that the provisional disposition order came out, but heard not yet reported for more information,” it was said. Sonouede, but Chief Cabinet Secretary, “Takahama Nuclear Power Station Unit 3 and Unit 4, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that independent is, over a period of ten minutes time from a professional point of view, determined to meet the new regulatory standards, which is said to be the world’s highest level the are those who, as the government, to respect its decision, he said the change is not “on the policy to promote the re-operation.
And, but Chief Cabinet Secretary said that “the country is not a matter of the parties, essentially because it is the disposal of temporary, because it is the party Kansai Electric Power think that decide the future of the correspondence, I want to be watching as a nation.” year.
Complex reaction to the shutdown
For that Takahama decision of provisional disposition order the shutdown of the nuclear power plant Unit 3 and Unit 4 has been issued, from the residents of Fukui Prefecture Takahama was heard voice to concerns about the impact of the future.
Of these, men of the 60’s, but was surprised to learn the news of the contents of the “decision, it can not be understood as the residents of the location municipality to stop a moving nuclear power plant. In the future, not to be driving other nuclear power plant it is difficult or “and we were talking. In addition, 60-something women, “but can also be seen opinion that nuclear power is dangerous, because Takahamagenpatsu there is re-running finally region had just start moving towards the activation, mixed feelings but” had been talking to.
On the other hand, 20 generations of women, and “I think to worry about the safety of nuclear power plants and listen to today’s decision, once in terms of taking the measures carried out an investigation to stop the operation, I want to safely re-running” We were talking.
Residents and the defense team is debriefing “excitement about standing goose bumps.”
Residents and lawyers had filed a provisional disposition this time of Shiga Prefecture, held a briefing in Otsu city. In this, Yoshinori Tsuji of representatives of the residents (69), when we saw the main text of the decision should not be driving a “Takahamagenpatsu Units 3 and 4, the goose bumps were impressed enough to stand. Court residents who in response to the wishes. March 11th before we put out such a decision, he said the thought of presiding judge have also been transmitted. ”
In addition, well Kenichi lawyer to serve as defense chief in the trial of the “In the past, nuclear power plant was able to prove that it is safe as long meet the criteria of the country. For the power company, but the proof was that simple, this time in the decision is not only whether to pass the regulatory standards, in light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant pointed out that how has taken a specific safety measures have been considered “, the court showed a” calm judgment I said that I would like to express my deep respect. “

Relevant additional link;


March 9, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Japan’s Fukushima radioactive water and debris – out of control

It’s time the Japanese government tackles the issues head-on. Either it takes the exceedingly unpopular step of imposing a more secure facility on one or more unwilling communities, or it must acknowledge the obvious, which is that the core of Fukushima’s exclusion zone will become a gigantic de facto nuclear waste dump indefinitely.

Playing Pass the Parcel With Fukushima   PETER WYNN KIRBYMARCH 7, 2016 OXFORD, England — In the five years since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns that devastated Fukushima Prefecture, the Japanese government has undertaken mammoth efforts to decontaminate irradiated communities.

Thousands of workers have removed millions of tons of radioactive debris from backyards and fields, roadsides and school grounds. They have scraped away acres and acres of tainted soil, collected surface vegetal matter, wiped down entire buildings and hosed and scrubbed streets and sidewalks.

The cleanup effort is staggering in scale, and unprecedented. Japan’s leaders hope to restore for human habitation more than 100 cities, towns and villages scattered over hundreds of square miles. The government has allocated more than $15 billion for this work.

The Japanese authorities call these efforts josen (decontamination), but the word is misleading and the activity largely a fallacy. What’s happening is more like transcontamination: Once the radioactive debris is collected and bagged, it is transferred from one part of Fukushima to another, and then another.


The waste is placed in bags, which are periodically collected and brought to provisional storage areas (kari-kari-okiba), before being moved to more secure, though still temporary, storage depots (kari-okiba). Officials at the Ministry of the Environment have said up to 30 million tons of radioactive waste will eventually be moved to yet another, third-level interim storage facility near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant. But no significant construction has begun. In fact, the authorities haven’t even managed to convince all the relevant absentee landowners in the area to sell the necessary plots.

So for now the radioactive waste is either lying around or being moved around. Throughout Fukushima, there are large cylindrical plastic sacks — each roughly the size of a hot tub and weighing about a ton when full — stacked in desultory heaps by the side of roads, near driveways or in abandoned lots. In the town of Tomioka in mid-October, I saw three dozen bags piled along the edges of a small cemetery, overtaken by weeds.

The bags deteriorate after three years, meaning that the waste has to be repackaged regularly. Sacks are sometimes moved from one facility to another, based on their levels of radioactivity, which vary and can shift over time. By last fall, there were more than 9 million one-ton bags of radioactive waste. Standard trucks carry fewer than 10 bags at a time — meaning that radioactive material is regularly rotating around Fukushima in a slow-motion version of pass the nuclear parcel. Continue reading

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | 2 Comments

European Parliamentary group Calls for End to ‘Uneconomic’ Nuclear Power

Now a new ‘Alliance of Regions for Phasing out Nuclear Power across Europe’ — formed of lawmakers in the European Parliament — is calling for an end to nuclear power in the EU, claiming it is no longer economical.

“The costs of the projects are handed on to EU citizens, via subsidies. This can no longer continue… It is absolutely absurd — especially while the cost of renewable energy is falling — to continue investing in such a high risk technology. The EU should turn away from these dangerous and misguided energy investments, which would have serious consequences for decades to come,” they said.

flag-EUEuro Lawmakers Call for End to ‘Uneconomic’ Nuclear Power, 8 Mar 16 The future of nuclear power stations in Europe has been called into question by lawmkares in the European Parliament following the sudden resignation of a senior director in French energy giant EDF over a new power plant in the UK.

EDF has been struggling to get building underway at its proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, in the south west of England. The sheer cost of building the plant has been a major sticking point with British taxpayers being forced to back the deal by providing a guaranteed price of generated electricity from the plant.

DF Energy — the UK subsidiary of EDF — agreed a ‘strike price’ with the UK Government, which guarantees EDF a price of US$141 MWh for generating electricity over 35 years and a debt guarantee. Despite this, problems with EDF’s partner Areva — which manufactures the nuclear reactor — have led to delays in putting finance into place.

The sudden departure of the chief finance officer of EDF Monday has been taken as a sign that he believed the sheer cost of building the new plant at Hinkley Point would seriously damage the whole of EDF’s finances.

Delay and Cost-Overruns

The CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy, in September announced a further postponement of the commissioning of the gigantic new nuclear power station at Flamanville in northern France and admitted the price has more than tripled.

Levy said the first French third-generation European Pressurized Water reactor (EPR) with a capacity of 1650 MW will cost in the region of US$12 billion — more than three times the original projected cost of US$3.37 billion and fuel loading will not even start until late 2018, six years behind schedule.

Meanwhile, construction by EDF and Siemens of the Olkiluoto nuclear plant in Finland — based on the same design as Flamanville has also suffered many delays and cost over-runs.

Now a new ‘Alliance of Regions for Phasing out Nuclear Power across Europe’ — formed of lawmakers in the European Parliament — is calling for an end to nuclear power in the EU, claiming it is no longer economical.

In a statement they said:

“Many studies have shown that the construction of new nuclear reactors in the EU has now become totally uneconomical and no longer competitive on the energy market. Current projects in Finland, France and the UK are very likely to cost far more than what was initially planned.

“The costs of the projects are handed on to EU citizens, via subsidies. This can no longer continue… It is absolutely absurd — especially while the cost of renewable energy is falling — to continue investing in such a high risk technology. The EU should turn away from these dangerous and misguided energy investments, which would have serious consequences for decades to come,” they said.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Belgium’s nuclear sites in danger: military protection to be set up

terrorism-targets-2Belgian army to protect nuclear sites: interior ministry article/us-belgium-nuclear- security-idUSKCN0W61KR, 4 Mar 16 Belgium has ordered its military to protect nuclear sites such as power plants in the country to safeguard them against possible militant attacks, the country’s interior ministry said on Friday.

Some 140 soldiers will be mobilized to protect locations such as Belgium’s two nuclear power plants at Tihange and Doel as well as nuclear research and storage facilities, a spokesman for the interior ministry said.

“We are setting up a special police unit for this sort of security task but that will take some time for it to be operational,” the spokesman said, adding that the army would take over in the meantime.

In February, Belgian investigators searching houses linked to suspects in the Islamist militant attacks in Paris last November found a video tracking movements of a man linked to the country’s nuclear industry.

The spokesman said there was no direct link between the discovery of the video and the decision to take the additional security measures. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Gareth Jones)

March 9, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Petition to UK’s George Osborne – ABANDON HINKLEY NUCLEAR PROJECT !

sign-thisGeorge Osborne: Don’t Waste £Billions On Nuclear Power

George Osborne is on the cusp of wasting billions on nuclear power. The new nuclear plant he wants to build at Hinkley in Somerset is set to be the most expensive object on Earth – and already it’s at least 8 years overdue.

While Hinkley continues to suffer huge delays, and serious questions are being raised about the safety of the reactor, the cost of renewable energy is falling.

Rumours are now spreading that EDF – the company that wants to build Hinkley – could pull out of the deal, meaning the whole project could be on the rocks.

Let’s seize this moment to pile the pressure on George Osborne.A huge petition could convince him to abandon the project and back renewable energy instead.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s million-ton headache – radioactive water everywhere

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster 5 Years On: Water, Water Everywhere (Part I), Forbes, 
John Boyd , 7 Mar 16 “……….
Now, on the fifth anniversary of what is known here as the Great East Japan Earthquake, how much progress has TEPCO and the government made in dealing with what was fundamentally a man-made disaster?

The answer is they continue to face the same four huge challenges they grappled with in 2011: dealing with contaminated water that has grown into a million-ton headache; locating and somehow retrieving the molten fuel debris; removing spent fuel rods from the damaged reactor storage pools; and disposing of millions of cubic meters of radioactive waste.

Most evident of these challenges is the contaminated water. Cooling water must be continuously circulated through the damaged reactors Units 1, 2 and 3, where nuclear fuel has melted through at least the inner containment vessels. Consequently, the cooling water injected into the reactor becomes contaminated and finds its way down into the turbine basements adjacent to each reactor; there, it mixes with incoming ground water to greatly compound the problem.

Some of the pooled water is partly decontaminated, cooled and recirculated through the reactors again, the rest is treated and pumped out and stored in tanks to prevent it flowing into the Pacific Ocean.


Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO’s Chief Decommissioning Office, told the foreign press in Japan March 2nd that there are over 1,000 such storage tanks located inside and outside the plant, each holding as much as 1,000 metric tons of treated water. And with groundwater streaming in at 150 metric tons a day, a new tank is being added weekly.

The stored water, while filtered and largely decontaminated, still contains tritium—radioactive hydrogen, which can cause cancer if ingested………

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners urgently call for correcting reactor cooling systems flaw

highly-recommendedsafety-symbol-SmFlag-USADangerous Flaw Threatens to Close Nation’s Nuclear Fleet Energy Matters, By Roger Witherspoon, 4 Mar 16 
After four years of increasingly tense internal discussion, seven Nuclear Regulatory Commission engineers have formally petitioned the governing Commissioners to either order the nation’s nuclear power plants to immediately correct a design flaw governing their reactor cooling systems or order them all to shut down.

The flaw is in the original design of the electrical system, and has escaped notice for decades. According to the engineers’ petition, as well as a series of staff analyses on file at the NRC, the design flaw occurs in what is called a “single phase” condition in which little or no electricity is entering the plant to operate its backup cooling systems in the event of a blackout or other event cutting off power from the grid. The result is that the motors of backup generators are underpowered and this can cause their motors to burn out. When that happens, there is no way to keep the reactor core cool.

The seven members of the Electrical Engineering Branch in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, led by Acting Chief Roy K. Mathew, stated in the petition that “the staff determined that all nuclear facilities are susceptible to this design vulnerability except one plant, and recommended that the NRC take prompt regulatory action.”

As a result, the petition states, if the plants are not ordered to immediately redesign their electrical systems then the Commissioners should “issue Orders to immediately shutdown the operating nuclear power plants since the licensees are operating their facilities without addressing the significant design deficiency…and with inoperable electric power systems….”

The situation evolved from an unplanned shutdown in January 30, 2012 in Unit 2 of the Byron Station Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois. At the time, it was thought that the shutdowns resulted from a string of unfortunate coincidences. But further examination by the NRC’s electrical engineering branch found something more alarming…………

Officials from Exelon, which owns and operates Byron and 10 other nuclear power plants, as well as inspectors from the NRC initially thought that the shutdown was the result of a series of unfortunate coincidences. But On Feb. 28, 2012, there was a similar interrupted and undetected phase which caused a shutdown at Byron’s Unit 1. And, as in the earlier event, it disabled the plant’s cooling systems. That caused Mathews and the  electric unit he led to investigate further and see if there had been any other shutdowns in which an undetected phase disruption disabled the cooling pumps.  Their initial look found identical shutdowns at the Beaver Valley Power Station Unit 1 in Pennsylvania in November, 2007; and in New York, the James Fitzpatrick and the neighboring Nine Mile plants, which share a power substation, shut down in December, 2005.

The staff analysis concluded that the design of the electrical systems was “inadequate because it did not consider the possibility of the loss of a single phase… This situation resulted in neither the onsite nor the offsite electric power system being able to perform its intended safety functions” to provide electric power to the plant’s safety systems. Plants are required to have two separate sets of electrical power lines and monitors for  their core cooling systems so that operators can still control the reactor even if one line, or train, is damaged by fire or another event.

The loss of a single phase of alternating current, the NRC staff found, “can potentially damage both trains of the emergency core cooling system.” In that case, there is nothing to prevent a meltdown………..

Not only does this situation affect the 99 operating reactors, it also applies to the four AP1000 plants under construction at the Vogtle Plant in Georgia and the Sumner plant in South Carolina. That is because these plants are a new design, and while their safety systems appeared sound on paper and in simulations, they do not work as planned when actually built and require design modifications to meet actual operational needs. As a result, a Feb. 26, 2013 staff analysis found that the electrical systems are incomplete and are still being designed.

“In addition,” the staff assessment concluded, “the generic AP1000 plant operating procedures are under development and the licensees’ review of the generic procedures did not identify specific operator actions related to phase voltage verifications of the three phases.”

As a result, the electrical group concluded, all of the nation’s nuclear plants are violating the terms of their operating licenses and must either be brought into compliance or shut down.

According to NRC statutes, this is a major issue.

NRC regulations governing the operating licenses dictate that “the safety systems shall be designed so that, once initiated automatically or manually, the intended sequence of protective actions of the execute features shall continue until completion.”

The group’s petition states “any failures in an offsite power system or onsite power system must not disable the safety functions of emergency core cooling and vital safety systems to protect the health and safety of the public.”

With the current system, they assert, the plants are violating a mandatory condition of their operating licenses ( ).   As the issue was debated within the agency, the Mathews group cast a wider net and began looking at the root causes of shutdowns in the US and abroad, while pushing the agency to more forcefully addresses the design problem. To their surprise, they found 13 “open phase events” over a 14-year period, with the latest taking place at the Oconee Nuclear Power Station in South Carolina in December, 2015…………

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Labour and Nukes: conspiracy of hope killed off?

flag-UKLabour UKnuClear News, March 2016  Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has called on the government to come up with a “Plan B” in case Hinkley Point C is never built. But instead of taking the opportunity to argue the case for more renewables she has called on the government to find cheaper ways to get more nuclear stations built in future. (1) She now wants the Government to look at new reactor types including Molten Salt Reactors, Heavy Water Reactors, and Fast Reactors (2) A far cry from Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto last summer which pointed to the 8 countries, 55 cities and 60 regions which are planning to go 100% renewable over the next few decades which Britain should be part of. He said Britain needs the Big 60 million not the Big 6. In his interview with Greenpeace’s Energydesk he said “no” to new nuclear power stations. (3)

When she was first appointed Nandy signaled that the government could no longer count on the opposition’s backing for Hinkley. But this has been the case for a while. In the run-up to the General Election shadow energy minister, Tom Greatrex, now Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, called for the Hinkley deal to be scrutinised by the National Audit Office (NAO) to make sure it was the best deal for the UK taxpayer. Baroness Worthington, shadow spokesperson for energy and climate change in the House of Lords attacked the deal with EDF saying it was having a “massive destabilising” effect on the energy market and causing a “crisis of confidence” in the future of energy production in the UK. Ed Balls who would have been Chancellor had Labour won was reportedly warned by Treasury officials that the costs for Hinkley were frighteningly out of control.
But her latest statements appear to be a backward step from commitments to the Labour Party Conference which looked encouraging. (4) She told the 2015 Conference about how the Tories were attacking the cheapest low carbon energy available to us – onshore wind, and pulling the rug from under the solar industry, wasting billions on an energy efficiency scheme that failed, and negotiating a deal to pay Chinese and French firms over the odds for nuclear power. Nandy said she and Jeremy don’t want to nationalise energy – they want to democratise it. ……….
By February this year in an interview with Carbon Brief, much of this support for a decentralised energy future seemed to have been kicked into the long grass. Instead she talked about nuclear power being an: “… important as part of the energy mix. I think it’s particularly important when you look at how we’re going to meet the commitments we made in Paris.”
Even Jeremy Corbyn in an interview with the Carlisle News and Star last November seemed to accept the need for a new nuclear power plant in west Cumbria. (5) Former Labour MP for Nottingham South, and decentralised energy advocate, Alan Simpson, writing in the Morning Star last August said: Corbyn’s plans for turning Britain into a clean energy economy are genuinely transformational – a fundamental rewrite of energy market rules — making energy “systems” more open, accountable, sustainable and affordable. It involves creating new social rights to the development of local energy systems and breaking the grip of Britain’s energy cartel. He wants towns, cities and regions to transform themselves into localised “virtual” power stations. He wants to create markets that sell “less” consumption before more, and take clean energy before dirty. Across the country, across generations, Corbyn has unleashed a conspiracy of hope — and that could be dangerous. It could be exciting. It could change everything. (6)……….
 Nandy’s nuclear delusions stand in the way of the party engaging with the energy revolution. In Europe alone some 6,500 towns, cities and regions are committed to localised, “sustainable” energy systems. Nuclear advocates can’t bring themselves to admit that “smart” energy will sound the death-knell of both nuclear and fracking. Instead they trail around nuclear fictions about “baseload,” and fracking’s illusions of “security.” They live in denial of the extent to which technology, accountability and “clean” are already redefining the shape of tomorrow’s secure energy systems. (8)
Unfortunately last summer’s conspiracy of hope has melted away into a molten salt reactor.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Letter from Stop Hinkley Campaign to EDF Energy

nuClear News Mar 16

Dear EDF Energy, We are writing to you before another EDF Board Meeting at which it is rumoured a final investment decision on Hinkley Point C could be made to urge you to scrap this project altogether.

As has been widely reported, the managers’ union CFE-CGC, which has a seat on EDF’s board, has voiced its concern about the significant financial issues raised by investing in Hinkley Point C and says such a huge commitment could put the very future of EDF as a company in danger. The Association of Employee Shareholders (EAS) – has asked for the project to be halted. (1)
We understand that EDF’s financial problems include:
  • Debts of €37 billion (£28 billion) and its share price has fallen from €29 in April 2014 to €10.32 last week. Financing a massive project like Hinkley Point C will clearly place a significant strain on finances. (2) The union notes that the debt related to Hinkley Point C will need to be 100% fully consolidated into the EDF accounts – an amount which exceeds the market capitalization of the Group.
  •  EDF is now facing a €100m bill for upgrading its nuclear power stations in France according to a report by French Government auditor – the Cour des Comptes – rather than €55bn previously estimated. (3) 
  •  EDF has also agreed to buy between 51 and 75% of the struggling French reactor builder Areva NP which is valued at €2.7bn. So will have to find at least €1.4bn for that.
  • The French waste agency Andra has estimated that the cost of its deep geological disposal project could be as high as €30bn rather than the €20bn estimated by EDF. (4) French energy minister Ségolène Royal has signed a decree setting the ‘reference cost’ at €25 billion – still a jump of €5bn for EDF. (5)
The unions also mention the need for EDF to invest in renewable energy across the globe. In France the Parliament passed a law last year to reduce the share of electricity provided by nuclear power from 75% to 50%. The Cour des Comptes says this could lead to the closure of 17 to 20 reactors.
The union has also highlighted the construction problems at reactors similar to the Hinkley design at Flamanville in Normandy and Olkiluoto in Finland. Flamanville is currently 6 years late and around €7.2bn over budget. Olkiluoto is expected to be 10 years behind schedule and €5.5bn over budget. On top of all this the French nuclear regulator ASN now says it won’t decide until the end of this year what to do about weak spots in steel of the pressure vessel at Flamanville. If ASN decides that Areva needs to replace the reactor vessel or lid because of the weak spots, the Flamanville project could face significant further delays and cost overruns. (6) The Union wants to know how EDF can assume a 9-year construction time for Hinkley Point C when 10-15 years has been the norm so far, and why the company is considering embarking on the construction of two more EPR reactors when none have yet been completed anywhere in the world.
Like the unions we at Stop Hinkley believe the EDF Board would be foolhardy to commit to building two EPRs at Hinkley Point C when the Company is in such a precarious position. It is not difficult to see why EDF’s employee shareholders fear that the project could sink the company altogether. The Company is in no fit state to finance such a massive new project. But as people who live in the vicinity of the proposed Hinkley Point C, our main concern is not the future of EDF as a Company. Our concern is about the future of our community.
Whatever EDF decides at its Board meeting on 16th February we find it very hard to believe that this project will ever come to fruition. We have lived with the threat of Hinkley Point C (in this incarnation), and all the disruptions that that entails, for a decade now, and yet all we have got to show for it is a big hole in the ground. If you make a positive final investment decision tomorrow the uncertainty and disruption created by this project will continue.
If you read the Energy Press, as we are sure you do, you will know by now that many commentators consider baseload power as a concept to be obsolete. A system powered 100% by renewables supported by a backbone of electricity storage, smart grid technology and demand management, energy efficiency, and 21st century technology is perfectly feasible now. In fact, not only is it feasible, but strong market and social forces mean that such a system is increasingly the only kind of system that makes any sense.
There are huge renewable resources available in the South-West which are capable of boosting our rural economy and ensuring our energy security. All that is holding us back from a renewable revolution is a failure of political will. Regen South West has pointed out that if the UK Government puts in place the policies needed to meet 15% of the South West’s energy requirements (N.B. Energy, not just electricity, i.e. including heat and transport) this will deliver £10bn of investment and 24,000 jobs. The UK is committed, under EU rules, to meeting a 15% target for energy by 2020. (7)
The South-West region has the renewable energy resources to meet more than 100% of its total energy needs, including replacement of liquid fuels and electrifying railways. We should aim to do this by 2050. According to a recent report by The Resilience Centre the South-West has the potential to generate an estimated 68TWh of energy made up of 43TWh of electricity energy, and 25TWh of thermal energy. This equates to just over 100% of total future energy needs for the South-West assuming a 40% powering down due to energy efficiency measures by 2050. A programme to deliver a 100% renewable energy target would create 122,000 jobs. The capital cost of delivering such a programme would be £59,484m, including £8,784m on Smart Grid energy storage. This is 72% of equivalent nuclear costs for delivering the same amount of energy. (8)
When renewables become the dominant source of power, baseload power stations get in the way because they have to operate as close to full-time as possible and cannot power up or down quickly. These old-fashioned plants are not merely a problem, they become an obstruction. Instead, it is necessary to have power sources whose power can be adjusted up and down  quickly. According to UBS Bank, “Large-scale power generation … will be the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible, not even relevant for backup power in the long run.” (9) Large baseload power stations, such as nuclear and large coal-fired power stations are not flexible because they are hard to turn on and off. So building more baseload power stations would actually undermine moving towards a clean energy future. It would simply mean that during peak times when renewables are supplying lots of electricity, some of that power will go to waste. (10)
A large-scale experiment, called Kombikraftwerk, started in Germany on 1st January 2006. This is a computer model which uses actual real time power output from a number of wind, PV and biogas electricity generators. It has demonstrated the feasibility of operating a virtually 100% renewable electricity system. (11) Most utilities are now looking at how they can carve out a future for their companies in a world which is dominated by decentralised energy. For instance the Chief Executive of Engie UK Mr Petrie says he wants Engie to “… focus is on the demand side. The future is going to be much more about decentralized energy”. (12)
We urge you, as a Company, to ditch the Hinkley Point C proposals which threaten to trash our communities and the very future of EDF itself. Instead you should embrace the decentralised energy revolution and help us in South-West England to get on with planning our 100% renewable energy future. references ……

March 9, 2016 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Florida Nuclear Station is leaking radioactive material into Biscayne Bay

water-radiationFPL nuclear plant canals leaking into Biscayne Bay, study confirms

Radioactive ‘tracer’ detected at up to 215 normal levels near canals

County commission set to discuss cooling canal problems Tuesday

Threat from pollution to public, marine life not addressed in report

Recent sampling of water in Biscayne Bay found higher than normal levels of tritium, a rare hydrogen isotope produced by nuclear reactors and used to track water leaking from Turkey Point’s cooling canals. Tim Chapman Miami Herald Staff MIAMI HERALD BY JENNY STALETOVICH

A radioactive isotope linked to water from power plant cooling canals has been found in high levels in Biscayne Bay, confirming suspicions that Turkey Point’s aging canals are leaking into the nearby national park.

According to a study released Monday by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, water sampling in December and January found tritium levels up to 215 times higher than normal in ocean water. The report doesn’t address risks to the public or marine life but tritium is typically monitored as a “tracer” of nuclear power plant leaks or spills.

The study comes two weeks after a Tallahassee judge ordered the utility and the state to clean up the nuclear plant’s cooling canals after concluding that they had caused a massive underground saltwater plume to migrate west, threatening a wellfield that supplies drinking water to the Florida Keys. The judge also found the state failed to address the pollution by crafting a faulty management plan.

This latest test, critics say, raise new questions about what they’ve long suspected: That canals that began running too hot and salty the summer after FPL overhauled two reactors to produce more power could also be polluting the bay………

Over the last two years, problems with the canals have worsened exponentially. After the 2013 plant expansion to increase power output by 15 percent, the canals began running dangerously high. FPL officials blamed problems on an algae bloom that worsened after the canals were temporarily shut down during the project. But when a summer drought hit in 2014, temperatures spiked. At least twice, when temperatures soared to 102 degrees, the utility was nearly forced to power down reactors.

After obtaining permission from nuclear regulators to operate the canals at 104 degrees, the hottest in the nation, FPL officials began plotting a course to fix the canals by pumping in millions of gallons of fresh water from a nearby canal as well as increasing the amount of water drawn from the Floridan aquifer.

But the growing saltwater plume triggered regulatory scrutiny. After the county complained, the state ordered a new management plan, called an administrative order, to address problems……..

Over the last five years, the report said, cooling canal water typically has tritium at levels 60 to more than 800 times higher than in the bay. Tritium at the bottom of the bay close to the canals ranged from more than 130 to 215 times higher — high enough to suggest a consistent flow from the sprawling cooling system.

County staff concluded the findings are “the most compelling evidence” that canal water has spread into the bay.

March 9, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | 4 Comments

Even more serious than we thought – climate chnage and sea level rise

Sea level rise threatens larger number of people than earlier estimated, Science Daily, March 8, 2016


Aalto University
More people live close to sea coast than earlier estimated, researchers have concluded after a new study. These people are the most vulnerable to the rise of the sea level, increased number of floods and intensified storms. By using recent increased resolution datasets, researchers estimate that 1.9 billion inhabitants, 28% of the world’s total population, live closer than 100 km from the coast in areas less than 100 meters above the present sea level.
  • By 2050 the amount of people in that zone is predicted to increase to 2.4 billion, while population living lower than 5 meters will reach 500 million people. Many of these people need to adapt their livelihoods to changing climate, say Assistant Professor Matti Kummu from Aalto University.The study found that while population and wealth concentrate by the sea, food must be grown further and further away from where people live. Highlands and mountain areas are increasingly important from food production point of view, but also very vulnerable to changes in climate.
  • Over the past century there has been a clear tendency that cropland and pasture areas have grown most in areas outside the population hotspots, and decreased in coastal areas. This will most probably only continue in the future, summarises Professor Olli Varis from Aalto University…….

March 9, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

Build Hinkley Nuclear Station B – quickest way to finish off nuclear power!

Chris Goodall, a pro-nuclear supporter, commented a few months ago that it would be best for nuclear power if Hinkley C did not go ahead.  – because the spectacle of disaster would ruin the prospects for future nuclear power. So we, nuclear opponents and sceptics, are entitled to wonder, whether, after all, if we are a little bit cynical, whether it would be best for anti-nuclear politics in the long run, if Hinkley C was now given the go-ahead. A truly ghastly show will then follow! But it would be the end of nuclear power in Europe!


Should anti-nuclear supporters now call for EDF to build Hinkley C?

 Strange as it may seem, there is now a plausible argument for anti-nuclear campaigners to call for Hinkley C to be built. Why? Because the financial catastrophe that would, as a result, envelope, and destroy, EDF would mean the end of prospects for new nuclear power in Europe.

EDF are now in the position whereby they can only build the plant if they finance it on their balance sheet since the AREVA EDF crumblingTreasury (in an argument that formed a key basis of their EU state aid application) will not sanction a loan guarantee before a European EPR has been seen to work. This criterion cannot be met until 2019 at least. Even then if similar cost overruns occurred in Hinkley as they have done in France and Finland, that would sink EDF anyway, even with a loan guarantee. EDF face bankruptcy even with their escalating liabilities from their EPR construction disasters as well as increasing costs of refurbishing their existing nuclear fleet. Don’t imagine for a moment that the Chinese will come to the rescue. They have no further political interest other than they have gone so far, and certainly don’t want to pay for any costs overruns on the project.  Continue reading

March 9, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Deep seated concern about Canada’s nuclear safety

safety-symbol-Smflag-canadaCan the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission do better? by Mark Mattson.

If your drinking water comes from Lake Ontario, then you’re one of the millions of people who count on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Committee to do its job perfectly. The same is true for other Canadians who work in the nuclear industry or live near a facility.

In an interconnected, hi-tech world, we rely on regulatory agencies to keep us safe. We assume that buildings are well constructed, that toxic products will be banned, that the water coming out of our faucets will be safe to drink – and if any of these things doesn’t happen, we assume we will be warned.

When we are wrong, the consequences can be grave. Think of the Walkerton tragedy or the crisis in Flint.

Of course, the consequences of poor regulation aren’t always obvious. They may be difficult to detect or very distant from the root cause. Imagine low levels of a carcinogen (say PFOA) in a town’s drinking water, for example. If the regulator fails to prevent this, it is unlikely that the residents will detect its presence. Even if rare cancers begin to appear, making the connection can be difficult.

The CNSC is responsible for protecting Canadians from the risks associated with the nuclear industry. This means ensuring that Canada never has to deal with the pandora’s box of problems that would stem from a complete or partial meltdown, or major release of radioactive material into the environment. It means protecting Canadians from those insidious, day-to-day harms that are harder to detect, like low level radiation or the slow release of radionuclides into the watershed. It also means protecting Canadians from the impact of non-nuclear contaminants, habitat loss, and environmental destruction.

If you’ve followed some of our previous work, you’ll know that Waterkeeper questions whether the CNSC effectively serves the public as an impartial regulator. We believe the CNSC relies on an inadequate licensing process, demonstrates limited appreciation of environmental risks, and has a tendency to downplay or ignore concerns raised by the public.

When regulatory agencies show signs of failing to meet their public duties, it’s important to speak up. In fact, any individual or organization that has such concerns has an obligation to share them. After all, you rely on us to help keep you safe, too.

For this reason, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is joining Greenpeace Canada, Ecojustice, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and others in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to initiate a twenty year review of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. This is the legislation that dictates how the CNSC operates. 

Reviewing the Act would provide an opportunity to address deep-seated concerns about the CNSC and improve nuclear regulation in Canada. You can read the open letter that has been sent to Prime Minister Trudeau below. (on original)

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Canada, safety | 1 Comment

Britain: Nuclear threat to renewables

fossil-fuel-fightback-1We have previously reported assertions by Dr Dave Toke that spending on Hinkley Point C would obliterate spending on renewables, because of the way the Levy Control Framework is organised. (19) At the moment it looks as though the UK will miss its European target which requires us to produce around 30% of our electricity supplies from renewable resources –about 108TWh in 2020 rising to 141TWh in 2030. The current Government doesn’t appear to have any ambition to go beyond this low level of renewable supply

flag-UKnuClear News Mar 16[excellent graphs on original] The Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) on Energy, published in July 2011, foresaw a need for 113 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity in 2025 compared with 85GW now. 59GW of this would be new capacity, of which 33GW would need to be renewable energy, mostly wind, to meet commitments to the European Union. This would leave 26GW for industry to determine. At the time there was 8GW of non-renewable capacity under construction leaving a balance of 18GW still to be determined. The Government said it wanted a substantial portion of this to be nuclear. (1)

By the time the NPS was published the Government said energy companies had announced that they intend to put forward proposals to develop 16 GW of new nuclear power generation capacity by the end of 2025. (2)

Continue reading

March 9, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Resignation of EDF’s finance director heralds crisis in UK Hinkley nuclear project

Hinkley Point C nuclear project in crisis as EDF finance director resigns
Proposed £18bn Somerset plant has been pushed by George Osborne but some on French company’s board fear risky spending,
Guardian, , 7 Mar 16,   The £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project was in crisis on Sunday night after reports that the finance director of EDF, the company behind the scheme, had resigned.EDF tells contractors to restart work on Hinkley Point, report says

text Hinkley cancelledThomas Piquemal has stood down from his post after expressing trenchant opposition to those on the EDF board who want to give the green light to the project within weeks, sources said.

The resignation of such an important figure on the EDF board will make it much harder for the remaining executives to proceed with Hinkley in the short term……..

Piquemal is said to have been arguing that pursuing what would be the world’s most expensive power project at this moment could jeopardise the French group, which already has rising debts.

Union members on the EDF board are also implacably opposed to Hinkley Point, saying it is too expensive and a risk to the energy company’s future…….

March 9, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment