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Big expansion of wind power for China

text-relevantwind-turb-smflag-ChinaChina Plans 22% Boost for Wind Power Capacity After Record 2015 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-21/china-plans-22-boost-for-wind-power-capacity-after-record-2015 Mar 21 16 

  • Government plan to develop 30.83 gigawatts of wind power
  • New developments restricted in places where turbines are idle
China plans to increase total wind power capacity by 22 percent in 2016, underscoring the government’s effort to develop clean energy at about the same pace as last year’s record installations.

The nation plans to develop 30.83 gigawatts of wind power this year, the National Energy Administration said in a statement on its website on Monday. It added 33 gigawatts in 2015, triple France’s entire capacity of the clean resource, according to data from NEA.

Developers rushed to deliver projects last year before tariffs paid for clean energy were reduced, and the support levels on offer this year are generous enough to keep drawing in investment.

 “The target is very high” for 2016, said Shi Yan, a Shanghai-based analyst at UOB Kayhian Investment Co. “New projects will be in regions with little idling capacity, offering good profitability for developers.”

The central province of Henan will have the most wind power projects approved this year, with the eastern province of Shandong following, according to NEA.

Wind installations in China have almost doubled since 2012 to 139 gigawatts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rapid growth of wind power has left the grid struggling to connect all the plants, forcing wind turbines to sit idle.

China is clamping down on the ability of local authorities to plan new wind projects in some of the windiest provinces because the pace of building to date has outstripped the grid’s ability to absorb new power flows. Those places include the northern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang.

March 30, 2016 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Obama’s role in nuclear security summit – but who will take over from him?

Obama Germany 2013Obama’s Last Chance to Bolster Nuclear Security, VOA March 29th, 2016  By Barbara SlavinTerrorist attacks in Belgium and Pakistan lend a greater sense of urgency to President Barack Obama’s final nuclear security summit, set to open on Thursday in Washington.

Leaders of more than 50 nations will discuss further steps to reduce and safeguard stockpiles of nuclear materials that would pose an even more serious threat to civilians than suicidal fanatics armed with guns and conventional explosives.

The concern is less about terrorists obtaining an actual nuclear weapon than stealing components for a so-called dirty bomb that could contaminate urban centers. Another frightening possibility is that terrorists could infiltrate and sabotage a nuclear power plant in an attempt to cause a catastrophic meltdown.

Belgian authorities found troubling evidence that the Islamic State network responsible for last week’s attacks on Brussels airport and the metro had been conducting surveillance of the home of a senior official at a local nuclear power plant. Two employees at another nuclear facility went to Syria as foreign fighters in 2012. One died in Syria, but the other returned to Belgium and was released from jail last year.

Long before the Syrian conflict and the advent of ISIS, the Obama administration made nonproliferation and nuclear security major priorities.

Since Obama started holding nuclear summits in 2010, 14 countries plus Taiwan have given up highly enriched uranium (HEU) once used in civilian reactors.  An additional 2,697 kilograms of nuclear material has been moved or blended down to less potent forms and radiation detection equipment has been installed at 250 airports, seaports and land border crossings, according to Robert Manning of the Atlantic Council.

But there are still about 1,800 tons of nuclear material in military and civilian sites around the world, enough for thousands of weapons. The stockpile includes 61 tons of HEU at 100 civilian nuclear facilities in 25 countries. That’s enough for nearly 2,000 bombs.

China, whose president Xi Jinping will be attending the summit, has made a significant contribution to nuclear security by agreeing to take back HEU it provided as fuel for research reactors in several countries including Syria and Ghana.  These reactors, developed in the 1950s and 60s, typically produce medical isotopes for use in treating cancer and other diseases, and were provided to many developing nations without much thought about their potential proliferation risk……..

A key question is how to institutionalize nonproliferation after Obama leaves office. There are real concerns about American nuclear policy under Obama’s successor, particularly if the winner of the November elections is the current frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump.

The bombastic real estate mogul, who revealed in an early debate that he did not know what the nuclear triad is (it is the three means of delivering a nuclear weapon from land, sea or air) envisions a drastic retrenchment of U.S. foreign policy commitments that could spur more countries to develop nuclear weapons.

Reversing more than 70 years of U.S. strategic thinking, Trump told The New York Times recently that the United States might be “better off” if Japan developed nuclear arms to deter a nuclear North Korea and if Tokyo did not have to continue to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella against both North Korea and China……..http://blogs.voanews.com/us-opinion/2016/03/29/obamas-last-chance-to-bolster-nuclear-security/

March 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Solar towers- a more effective system for lower light conditions

text-relevantFlag-USANew solar towers, cubes offer 20X more power, researchers say Solar towers are ideal for lower light conditions, Computerworld, By   Mar 23, 2016 5 Researchers at MIT have discovered a method of optimizing solar energy collection by arranging photovoltaic (PV) panels on a tower or in a cube shape.

The new forms of solar energy collection offer anywhere from double to 20 times as much output compared with today’s common flat-panels using the same area.

The technology would be most advantageous in northern climates — further away from the equator — where the less intensive solar exposure can be optimized.

MIT’s research, the findings for which are based on both computer modeling and outdoor testing of real modules, were published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science…….http://www.computerworld.com/article/3047660/sustainable-it/new-solar-towers-cubes-offer-20x-more-power-researchers-say.html

March 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Summit: Belgium’s terrorism hightens need for nuclear security

safety-symbol1Belgium Highlights the Nuclear Terrorism Threat and Security Measures to Stop it, Huffington Post, Matthew Bunn, Professor, Harvard University; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom , 28 Mar 16,

As world leaders gather for the fourth nuclear security summit this week, in the aftermath of the horrifying terrorist attacks in Brussels, it seems likely that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will have more to say than anyone else — both about real nuclear terrorist dangers and about real steps taken to improve nuclear security.

Since the 2014 summit, Belgium has suffered a number of suspicious and alarming activities at its nuclear sites and against some of its nuclear technicians. In Aug. 2014, for example, someone with inside access at the Doel-4 nuclear reactordrained the lubricant for the reactor turbine, causing it to overheat and resulting in an estimated $100-$200 million in damage. The perpetrator and the motive remain unknown.

In Nov. 2015, Belgian police discovered that the terror cell that carried out the Paris attacks used a secret video camera to monitor an official at nuclear research sites with a wide range of nuclear and radiological materials, including enough highly enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs.

In response to what seemed to be a growing terrorist threat to the country’s nuclear infrastructure, the authorities beefed up protection against insider threats, toughened access control, deployed armed troops to protect reactors and, following the airport and subway attacks, removed all non-essential personnel from nuclear sites in order to reduce the number of potential insiders.

With a variety of different takes on these events swirling in recent news stories (seehere and here), it’s worth clarifying what we know and what is still unknown about the scale of this threat and how best Belgium — and the rest of Europe — can protect itself. (A just-released Harvard study also has details up through February.)

What was the video monitoring of a nuclear official about? Continue reading

March 30, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

EDF senior engineers call for delay in UK Hinkley nuclear power development

text Hinkley cancelledDissenting EDF engineers urge delay to Hinkley nuclear project Complexity makes completion date unrealistic, argues report, but French group sticks to timetable Ft.com  : By Michael Stothard in Paris, 29 Mar 16, 

Senior engineers at French utility EDF have called for at least a two year delay at the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK and recommended a redesign of the reactor technology.

An internal white paper written by dissenting EDF engineers, which has been seen by the Financial Times, argues that Hinkley Point is so complex and untested that the company should announce a later completion date than the target of 2025.

The paper, circulated among top executives, said that the “realistic service date was 2027” due to the size of the project, continuing design modifications to the European Pressurised Reactor system and the “very low” competency of French supplier Areva in making some of the large components……..

The unsigned white paper was written after Mr Piquemal’s resignation by a group of senior engineers and other dissidents, according to people with knowledge of the document. The company plans to make the final investment decision on the project at a board meeting on May 11……..

The paper also addresses wider fears that the Hinkley project will in any case not be completed by 2025 and might suffer years of construction delays.

One person on the EDF board who had read the white paper said: “Few believe that we can build this [Hinkley Point] by 2025 any more.”…….

Three people close to the company said that CGN, EDF’s Chinese partner for Hinkley, also feared possible delays, attempting to insert a clause so it would take on a lower financial risk if there were a large problem.

In the case of a £5bn cost overrun, despite EDF having a 66.5 per cent stake in the project, EDF would be liable for 80 per cent of the additional costs, according to a document sent by the EDF finance department to the board’s audit committee in January…….https://next.ft.com/content/2ef61abe-f5b1-11e5-96db-fc683b5e52db

March 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Community solar power now getting the backing of energy utilities

text-relevanttext-community-energyEven Utilities Are Starting To Get Behind Community Solar http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Solar-Energy/Even-Utilities-Are-Starting-To-Get-Behind-Community-Solar.html  By , 28 March 2016   Solar energy is rapidly becoming one of the top choices for new electricity capacity as costs continue to decline and generous public policies accelerate tremendous growth for the sector.

Last year was a record year for the solar industry and the momentum is set to continue. In 2016, the EIA expects the U.S. electricity market to see 26 gigawatts of new capacity installed. Utility-scale solar is expected to capture 9.5 GW of that total, or more than one-third. If that comes to pass, it would be triple the rate of installations of utility-scale solar compared to 2015, and would also equate to more than the combined total of installations from 2013 to 2015.

That could be a conservative estimate. The Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, expects the solar industry to add 16 GW of new solar capacity, with about three-quarters of that coming from the utility-scale segment.

A much smaller segment of the solar industry could begin to take off, however. With the bulk of solar installations made up of large-scale utility-size projects, plus some commercial and residential projects proliferating at a healthy rate, the tiny but rapidly growing “community solar” sector could begin to capture a lot more attention.

The growth of solar has been held back by the large upfront costs. That problem is already being overcome with the leasing model, which requires no upfront investment.

But another problem with solar is that not everyone can participate – some people live in apartment buildings, or do not own their own home, or do not have a suitable rooftop to host PV panels. According to Greentech Media, around 77 percent of U.S. households are ineligible for solar panel installations for one reason or another.

“Community solar” solves this problem by allowing people to buy or lease a slice of a shared solar project that is somewhere off site, maybe in a nearby town or on a tract of open land. One could live in an apartment building and still buy into a community solar project, receiving credits on their utility bill.

The community solar model is becoming more common, opening up a vast new market for the solar industry. Community solar grew five-fold last year. New customers can still access a leasing model that has no upfront costs, and with community solar they do not even need to have their own rooftop to do so.

Better yet, community solar projects are increasingly competitive, offering ratepayers a clean source of power without added cost. There is a lot of room for improvement as well. As of now, the issues and design specifications can vary from project to project, but as the sector grows, developers will find ways to standardize projects, reduce development times, and scale-up a small-scale model.

No longer able to ignore the coming explosion in the solar market, utilities have been fighting to tweak public policy to block the threat of solar. But some utilities, in a recognition of reality, are trying to get in on the community solar game so as not to be left behind.

Deloitte cites the case of a Minnesota utility that allows ratepayers to buy in to a community solar project at a discounted rate if they also purchase a new electric water heater. The idea is that the household will heat their water with the extra electricity it produces at midday, avoiding the need to use electricity in the later afternoon and early evening when demand is at a peak. The customer benefits, and the utility benefits by shaving off peak demand.

State policies have also helped. In particular, Colorado and Minnesota have passed laws that require their utilities to setup community solar programs for their ratepayers. Two dozen more have voluntary programs.

Solar is popular too. Deloitte surveyed 1,500 households to find out what they thought were the most pressing energy-related issues, and 64 percent of them said “increasing the use of solar power” was a top three issue for them. As more customers discover community solar, they will increasingly demand their utility offer community solar programs to allow them access.

To be sure, community solar is still small. There are just 111 projects across the U.S., though that is sharply up from only two in 2010, according to Deloitte. Most projects are smaller than 1 megawatt, and the largest is only 20 megawatts. Most projects serve between 40 and 600 customers, according to a report from The Rocky Mountain Institute.

Nevertheless, the solar industry is growing rapidly, and community solar could be the fastest growing segment. The Rocky Mountain Institute argues that 15 GW of community solar could come online by the end of the decade.

For years, utilities have seen solar power as a threat, but that could be changing. As Deloitte puts it, the “evolution of community solar is a classic case of business model innovation turning a challenge into an opportunity. Foreseeing the inevitable growth of distributed energy resources, utilities are deploying these programs to get ahead of the game and to capture the benefits that distributed resources provide to the grid.”

 

March 30, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Britain now boasts world’s largest floating solar energy farm

text-relevantflag-UKWorld’s biggest floating solar farm powers up outside London
Five years in planning and due to be finished in early March, more than 23,000 solar panels will be floated on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near Heathrow and used to generate power for local water treatment plants
Guardian,   , 29 Feb 16 On a vast manmade lake on the outskirts of London, work is nearing completion on what will soon be Europe’s largest floating solar power farm – and will briefly be the world’s biggest.

But few are likely to see the 23,000 solar panels on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir at Walton-on-Thames, which is invisible to all but Heathrow passengers and a few flats in neighbouring estates.

“This will be the biggest floating solar farm in the world for a time – others are under construction,” said Angus Berry, energy manager for Thames Water, which owns the site. “We are leading the way, but we hope that others will follow, in the UK and abroad.”

solar floating farm London

Five years in planning and due to be finished in early March, the £6m project will generate enough electricity to power the utility’s local water treatment plants for decades. The energy will help provide clean drinking water to a populace of close to 10 million people in greater London and the south-east of England, a huge and often unrecognised drain on electricity, rather than nearby homes.

Why put solar panels on water? The answer, according to Berry, is that the water is there, and might as well be used for this purpose. Floating panels, covering only about 6% of the reservoir, will have no impact on the ecosystem, he says………

A similar floating solar farm with around half the capacity of the Thames Water project is being built by water company United Utilities on a reservoir near Manchester. Construction of an even bigger farm – at 13.7MW more than twice the QEII farm – is underway on a reservoir in land-scarce Japanand due to finish in 2018…….

Putting solar panels on the water for the QEII scheme has not required planning permission, though big arrays of similar panels on land require official sanction. The government has decided to ban farmers who put solar arrays on agricultural land from receiving EU subsidies for the land.

More than 23,000 solar panels will be floated by developer Lightsource Renewable Energy at the reservoir near Walton-on-Thames, representing 6.3MW of capacity, or enough to generate the equivalent electricity consumption of about 1,800 homes…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/29/worlds-biggest-floating-solar-farm-power-up-outside-london

March 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted security conditions at Indian Point Nuclear plant

NY Governor Cuomo thinks Indian Point is too dangerous to operate. He's right. But why are upstate reactors any different?New York’s governor just slammed the state of a nuclear power plant 40 miles from Manhattan, Business Insider MICHELLE MARK 30 MAR 16 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the troubling conditions at the Indian Point Nuclear plant Tuesday evening, announcing in a statement that hundreds of faulty bolts were found within one of the plant’s reactors.

The plant poses no immediate danger to public health and safety, but the bolts are the latest incident in a series that “raise deep concerns” about the plant’s operations and further the state’s argument that the plant should not be re-licensed, Cuomo said.

The plant is located in Buchanan, New York, approximately 40 miles from New York City.

The two working reactors at the plant opened in the 1970s, and have worried many of the 2,100 residents who live around the facility for years. The licenses for both reactors have expired, but the Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined that the amount of complaints lodged against the plant warrant its continuing operations until all the grievances are addressed, according to the Guardian.

The Indian Point facility has a long history of issues. Just a few:……http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-ny-governor-just-slammed-the-state-of-a-nuclear-power-plant-2016-3?r=US&IR=T

March 30, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | 1 Comment

Ben Jervey: Subsidized to the end – not even corporate welfare can save Big Coal.

This year, two energy companies that have each received billions of dollars in subsidies and financial support from the federal government are going into bankruptcy. You might think, in this post-Solyndra political environment, that conservative commentators and politicians would be lining up at the Fox News studios to call for some heads to roll.

But, no. Even though these companies have benefited from enough federal subsidies to make the Solyndra loan look like pocket change, there’s no outrage. Because they are coal companies (not solar), the story isn’t about how the federal government spent decades propping them up, it’s about how the president’s Clean Power Plan is taking them down.
http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/03/25/not-even-corporate-welfare-can-save-big-coal & http://www.dailyclimate.org/t/5863920798415471988

March 30, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A Bailout for the Nuclear Industry – the Pepco-Exelon Merger

Is the Pepco-Exelon Merger A Bailout for the Nuclear Industry? – Big Picture with Thom Hartmann
March 27, 2016  
Pepco and Exelon are about to merge and create the biggest utility company in the country. But is this merger – which is being sold as a pro-consumer – actually just a glorified bailout for the nuclear industry? Kevin Kamps joins Thom Hartmann to discuss this.

March 30, 2016 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Marketing frenzy to sell nuclear reactors to the Middle East

Nuclear Power to the People The Middle East’s New Gold Rush, Foreign Affairs May 2015 By Bennett Ramberg There’s a gold rush in the Middle East, but it isn’t gold that prospectors are seeking. It’s reactor sales; these have been talked about for decades, but they’re now picking up steam. So far, Russia has taken the lead. Having built the region’s only operational nuclear power plant—Iran’s Bushehr reactor—it will begin construction in Turkey later this year or next on four reactors, with energy set to begin flowing in the early 2020s. Russia has also stuck agreements with Algeria, Egypt, Iran, and Jordan, and it is seeking to enter the Saudi market.

Other countries are now trying to make up for lost time. South Korea has already contracted to build four plants in the United Arab Emirates, with the first expected to come online in 2017. And Argentina, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom are among those pursuing their own agreements for reactors, component parts and/or service deals.

fighters-marketing-1

The United States, subject to Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act—which requires that nuclear recipients adhere to a set of nonproliferation criteria to receive transfers of nuclear material, equipment, or components—finds itself more constrained in exploiting the markets. Still, in addition to supplying the Emirates with component and engineering support services under the 123 Agreement, the U.S. Commerce Department reports that GE-Hitachi and Toshiba-Westinghouse have signed contracts with Exelon to pursue reactor construction in Saudi Arabia, presuming that a 123 Agreement will be negotiated…….(registered readers only) https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2015-05-25/nuclear-power-people

March 30, 2016 Posted by | marketing, MIDDLE EAST | Leave a comment

Spanner in the works of Japan’s planned nuclear power revival

radiation-sign-sadflag-japanJapan’s Nuclear Energy Comeback Takes a Tumble IEEE Spectrum, By John Boyd, 29 Mar 16,  Just when it seemed Japan was poised to get its nuclear plants up and running again after the 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi brought about the shutdown of all the country’s nuclear operations, a series of mishaps has raised doubts over the government’s ability to achieve its goal of supplying 20-22 percent of Japan’s energy needs with nuclear power by 2030.

Last month, TEPCO, the regional electric utility that operated the Fukushima plant, issued a press release admitting that according to the results of a recent investigation, staffers had not followed guidelines requiring them to quickly declare a meltdown following the Daiichi accident.

“In the course of our investigations, it was discovered that TEPCO’s internal manual at the time clearly stated that a core meltdown was to be determined if the percentage of core damage exceeded 5%,” states the release. It goes on to say that, “We have confirmed that there were events where it may have been possible to issue notifications and reports more promptly immediately after the tsunami hit on March 11, 2011.”

Two days before last month’s TEPCO announcement, Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO, which serves the Osaka and Kyoto regions) revealed that it had found a leak on 20 February in the filtering system of the Unit 4 reactor at its Takahama Nuclear Plant in Fukui Prefecture, some 500 kilometers west of Tokyo. A contaminated pool of water was also discovered. The incident happened during preparations to restart the reactor after Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority’s (NRA) had deemed it safe to go back on line.

“Subsequently, the puddle was wiped [up] and it was confirmed that there was no remaining contamination,” the KEPCO announcement explained.

Convinced that all was well, KEPCO started up the reactor on 26 February. It shut down automatically three days later due to a “main transformer/generator internal failure,” the company reported.

But the biggest blow came on 9 March, when the District Court in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, located near the Takahama plant—though unprecedentedly not in the same prefecture—ordered the immediate shutdown of Units 3 and 4. The decision came after it agreed with a group of local plaintiffs that the plant did not satisfy all the NRA safety requirements. The Unit 3 reactor had gone back online in January………

, says the University of Tokyo’s Terai, “Should there be more legal actions of this kind inside and outside the prefectures where the plants are located, the power companies would face serious problems in starting up their nuclear power plants.”

Given that some 30 lawsuits and petitions for injunctions have been reported in the press, such an outcome seems likely. Currently, the NRA is reviewing 20 nuclear reactors in 16 power stations to see if they meet the new regulatory rules. Meanwhile, the Takahama closures leave just two reactors in operation—both at the Sendai plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co., also in western Japan.

Clearly, the power companies’ missteps are not helping the NRA’s efforts to rebuild trust with citizens—a critical factor in winning the necessary approval of local governments……http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/nuclear/japans-nuclear-energy-comeback-takes-a-tumble

March 30, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

US govt no longer worried about Japan’s plutonium stockpiling as weapons proliferation risk?

U.S. official changes stance on Japan’s nuclear policy http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002840098   By Seima Oki / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent , 29 Mar 16, WASHINGTON — U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman said in a press conference by telephone on Monday that Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle project, which reuses spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants to extract plutonium, does not raise concerns about nuclear nonproliferation, effectively changing his earlier position on the matter.

At a hearing of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on March 17, the assistant secretary in charge of international security and nuclear nonproliferation had voiced his concerns about Japan’s nuclear policy and said that it would be desirable for Japan to halt its nuclear fuel reprocessing project.

In the press conference, Countryman said that Japan was a pioneer in the civilian use of nuclear energy and that no other country was closer or more important as a partner to the United States than Japan.

Japan’s stockpiling of plutonium has been criticized by China at U.N. meetings and on other occasions. To this, Countryman said that Japan has been proceeding in a transparent manner, which was understandable to the rest of the world.

He also expressed his stance that the U.S. government will cooperate with Japan as an ally to wipe out anxiety in the international community.Speech

March 30, 2016 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Bolivia

Russian-BearBolivia Hopes to Gain Knowledge From Nuclear Deal With Russia, Sputnik News, 29 Mar 16,   “……..Russia and Bolivia signed an agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation in 2015. Rosatom and the Bolivian Hydrocarbon and Energy Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy in November.  http://sputniknews.com/business/20160329/1037166194/bolivia0russia-rosatom-nuclear.html#ixzz44KHYmPUv

March 30, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Troubled history of New York’s Indian Point nuclear power station

reactor-Indian-PointIndian Point nuclear plant reeks of troubled history As New York’s governor and other critics wage an ongoing campaign to shut the facility down citing leaks and old age, nearby residents explain complicated tale, Guardian, , 29 Mar 16  Outside the Westchester Diner in Peekskill, New York, about 40 miles from New York’s Central Park, a reactor dome crests the trees behind an overpass like a giant’s bald head.

It’s one of two at Indian Point Energy Center, at the bank of the Hudson river in neighboring Buchanan, among the oldest nuclear power plants still in operation, and a monument to the energy industry’s resistance to years of work by concerned scientists, locals and state officials to close down a facility that only last month dumped a plume of radioactive waste into their groundwater.

Indian Point’s two working reactors opened in the early 1970s and have had a lot of people worried for a long time. Five years ago the New York Times wondered if it was “America’s Fukushima” – the Japanese site of the world’s worst radiation crisis since Chernobyl. In February the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, called its operation “unacceptable” – he wants the plant closed.

It’s easy to see the source of his concern. The population density around Indian Point is of more than 2,100 people per square mile, by far the greatest for any of the US’s 61 nuclear power plants. Many of those people live and work in the plant’s shadow with growing unease.

In May 2015, an electrical transformer in the reactor called Unit 3 exploded, causing water to flood a room near the explosion where electrical distribution panels are housed and pouring 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson. The Union of Concerned Scientists classified the incident as a “near miss” in its annual review.Last year near misses occurred at eight nuclear facilities in the US. “Had the flooding not been discovered and stopped in time, the panels could have been submerged, plunging Unit 3 into a dangerous station blackout, in which all alternating current (AC) electricity is lost,” the report’s authors wrote. “A station blackout led to the meltdown of three nuclear reactor cores at Fukushima Dai-ichi in 2011.”

In February, radiation levels at three monitoring wells around the plant spiked, in one spot by 65,000%. Patricia Kakridas, a spokeswoman for Entergy, said the source was likely “water which exited a temporary filtration system that was set up and dismantled in late January 2016” in preparation for refueling; the company said radioactive material won’t leach into drinking water.

And in March, when the plant was being refueled, a breaker tripped and cut power in one of the reactors; when the diesel generators kicked in, they died while trying to restart the first electrical system. Fortunately a second backup worked.

Because the plant is cooled in large part by water from the Hudson – up to 2.5bn gallons a day – it kills about 1 billion fish and other aquatic organisms a year.

Incidents such as these are among the reasons Cuomo wants it closed, and Indian Point is now in a vulnerable position. The operating license for Indian Point 3 expired in December. The license for Indian Point 2 expired in 2013 (Indian Point 1 was decommissioned in 1974). Yet both remain active as the company pursues a license renewal and in the meantime Spectra, a pipeline company, is planning to add a gas pipeline that runs underneath the property to the two that have been there since the plant was built………

The fuel remains onsite at Indian Point, as it does at most nuclear power plants, and must be carefully maintained, for example it must be cooled for at least a decade before it can be sealed in concrete “dry casks”. Sheehan (and others) point out that moving it out of the state along Interstate 95 is impractical given the population density along the busy transport corridor. The plant has produced about 1,500 tons of waste and continues to produce more.

At this point, the license renewal process for Indian Point is scheduled through at least September of 2016 but the legacy of Indian Point, whether it closes or no, has a half-life of far, far longer.http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/28/indian-point-nuclear-plant-new-york-troubled-history

March 30, 2016 Posted by | incidents, safety, USA | Leave a comment