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The week that has been, in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CANCLIMATE. It has been a big week for climate news, with the New York signing, by a record 175 countries,  of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Steaming hot world sets more temperature records.    Future uninhabitable for Middle East, due to climate change? NASA will no longer mess with climate change denialists on Facebook.  Climate Change threatens the already leaking Marshall Islands radioactive dome



Cold war reviving, as USA, Russia, China build up newer, smaller, nuclear weapons.

Founder of Chernobyl Children International (CCI) Adi Roche to address UN.

EUROPE. NATO concerned at danger of ISIS nuclear attack on Britain or Europe

Uranium market continues its relentless downward plunge.  World’s Wind Energy Industry set to nearly double in next five years.

UK. £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan headed for a’grinding halt’?  EDF plan to help finance Hinkley nuclear project could be illegal.  Clean water for 10 million people, due to London’s new floating solar farm.

FRANCE. Nuclear corporation EDF’s minority shareholders want French govt to be forced to buy them outFrance committed to investing in Hinkley nuclear plant, even if it bankrupts EDF.

GERMANY. Solar city makes more 4 times more electricity than it consumes.


JAPAN. Growing concern over Sendai Nuclear Plant as earthquakes continue in the region. Japan Radioactive Rubble-Old Reactor Parts to be Sent to America and/or Britain?

RUSSIA   keenly promoting unaffordable nuclear power to Hungary, South Africa. Russian nuclear corporationRosatom to “educate” South Africans on benefits of nuclear power. Russia marketing nuclear power stations to Laos: Russia will build and operate them.

UKRAINE. Chernobyl’s nuclear nightmare – a timeline. Ukraine sticks with nuclear power, ignoring Chernobyl disaster. New book: Voices from Chernobyl, by Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Australia to sell uranium to Ukraine? – insensitive timing, economic and security folly.

CHINA.  tests very long range ballistic missile with 10 nuclear warheads.

INDIA plans 1,250 MW Solar Power Projects Over Waterways

SAUDI ARABIA  may turn to solar power, as low oil prices hit finances.

IRAN. EU and Iran co-operating on nuclear safety.  America to buy nuclear material from Iran.

April 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

£18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan headed for a’grinding halt’?

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UK£18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan could be ‘coming to a grinding halt’ Controversial power station is a key part of the Government’s plan to ‘make sure the lights stay on’, Independent John LichfieldIan Johnston 22 April 2016 London“The French electricity giant EDF has thrown the British government’s energy strategy into disarray by reportedly delaying – possibly until next year – a decision on whether it will build a new £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, the head of EDF, has bowed to pressure from unions and senior company engineers and agreed to seek a fresh opinion from the company’s union-management consultative council, the respected French newspaper Le Figaro reported.EDF said it could not immediately confirm the report. Sources in the company told the French newspaper that the consultation process would take several months and that no decision on whether to go ahead with its involvement in Hinkley Point – expected to supply eight per cent of British slectricity by 2025 – would be made before next year.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace claimed the delay could be “a sign that the entire project is coming to a grinding halt”, adding that the UK should back renewable energy “as a more reliable alternative” to nuclear power.

“The firm has been under enormous pressure from both the British and French governments to announce early next month a definite commitment to build, and largely finance, the two new generation nuclear reactors at Hinkley. The French economy minister Emmanuel Macron told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC TV that their agreement was now certain.

However senior engineers and unions at the largely state-owned French company fear the project could destroy the struggling business. They have demanded a delay of at least two years to allow uncertainties about the experimental high-pressure water reactors planned for Hinkley to be resolved……..
Although China has agreed to invest £6.2bn in Hinkley Point, EDF has failed to find other backers, leaving it responsible for two thirds of the cost. Problems with the bulding of similar high-pressure water reactors in Finland and Normandy have led EDF unions and senior executives to recommed a three-year delay – until a new generation of technology become available.

But Paris and London are reported to have applied intense pressure on EDF to go ahead immediately.The British government would face huge embarrassment if Hinkley Point, intended as the first of three new mega power stations, was abandoned or postponed.

In October last year, China agreed, amid much fanfare in London and Beijing, to invest £6.2bn in the project…….John Sauven, director of Greenpeace, which has campaigned against the reactor, told The Independent: “Delays to EDF making a decision about whether to invest in Hinkley are nothing new. So much so that it’s been 14 months since it was first said that the decision would be coming imminently.

But this latest delay from EDF is different.”President Hollande, the French Economy Minister and EDF’s chief executive have all very publicly promised the UK government a final decision before the 12 May. Backtracking on this pledge now is symbolic of the utter mess that EDF is in.

“But even if they could agree a finance package, it could be declared illegal state aid by the European Commission. This may now be the sign that the entire project is coming to a grinding halt and the UK government urgently needs to back renewable energy as a more reliable alternative.”……


April 23, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

‘New Nuclear” lobby working to weaken powers of USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Edwin Lyman, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program, said the timing of the legislation is “premature.” Lyman told Congress to consider that the legislation might pose an unfair burden on taxpayers and put Americans at increased risk.

The legislation would also eliminate language that requires NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel to hold a hearing on new applications.

“That’s inherently dangerous technology that needs tough questions to be asked about it,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). “I don’t think the public is going to be happy if they’re told ‘no hearings’ on this dangerous technology.”


Advanced reactor bill raises ‘red flags‘ Hannah Hess, E&E reporter E&E Daily: Friday, April 22, 2016

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s head of operations yesterday tried to sell lawmakers on a strategy to license the latest nuclear technology.

But Victor McCree had to contend with lawmakers who have their own plan to lay the groundwork for advanced reactors, and it goes beyond the administration’s comfort zone……

Eight days ago, EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) teamed up with Whitehouse and Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to introduce legislation to reform the licensing process and restructure how NRC is funded.

But a hearing of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee revealed concerns about safety and security, including NRC’s own fears that the legislation could handcuff regulators (E&E Daily, April 14).

The bill would change NRC to develop “technology-inclusive regulatory framework” — defined as using methods of evaluation that are flexible and predictable, such as risk-informed and performance-based techniques.

Critics warn that lawmakers didn’t properly explain those terms, which could lead to less rigorous standards for the approval of novel nuclear power technologies.

The legislation would also eliminate language that requires NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel to hold a hearing on new applications.

“That’s inherently dangerous technology that needs tough questions to be asked about it,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). “I don’t think the public is going to be happy if they’re told ‘no hearings’ on this dangerous technology.”

NRC concerns

McCree, who assumed NRC’s top career post last fall, cautioned that the bipartisan legislation would require “significant time and resources” over several years in areas where the agency’s internal planning process was well underway.

Current performance metrics allow fluidity at NRC to “account for emerging safety or security issues, changes in licensee plans and the like,” McCree said. “As written, the proposed requirements would limit the NRC’s flexibility in this area.”

At the Obama administration’s request, NRC earmarked $5 million for work on advancing small modular reactor (SMR) licensing practices in its fiscal 2017 budget proposal. Both House and Senate proposed spending bills include language to address this issue.

McCree said NRC staff expect to complete the first draft of their own strategy for licensing non-light-water reactor technologies soon and will discuss it in a public meeting in June.

NRC is also in the process of a downsizing measure, popular on Capitol Hill, that aims to streamline the agency.

Testifying on behalf of the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council, where he now is chairman of a task force on advanced reactors, Merrifield encouraged the committee to press for further staffing cuts below NRC’s Project Aim 2020. ….NRC’s budget for fiscal 2017 would cut an equivalent of 90 full-time employees, surpassing the Project Aim goal, for a total reduction of roughly 280 full-time workers since fiscal 2014 …….

One thing senators and the nuclear industry agree on is that the commission’s current licensing process, with a design and certification that can cost billions of dollars and stretch for up to a decade, is one of the biggest obstacles for SMRs and advanced reactor designs that use coolants other than water.

“You have a situation in which it is very hard to get early investment in these new technologies,” Crapo said.

Ashley Finan, policy director of the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, one of four industry witnesses who testified in support of the Senate legislation, presented charts showing the big money and time hurdles the private sector sees with the current NRC process.

“The investors and innovators have made it very clear that their most immediate and pressing concern is regulatory uncertainty,” Finan said……

Because advanced nuclear reactor companies rely primarily on investors, the bill seeks to change the model……

The Nuclear Infrastructure Council wants language added that would provide early stage engagement with no or limited cost to the developer, with an “appropriate cost share,” perhaps 50-50, for later stages of the licensing process.

“Fewer resources are not good for the agency in protecting against a terrorist attack,” said an animated Markey, demanding any of the witnesses to refute his claim.

Bill ‘premature’

Edwin Lyman, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program, said the timing of the legislation is “premature.”

Lyman told Congress to consider that the legislation might pose an unfair burden on taxpayers and put Americans at increased risk.

The history of the failed Next Generation Nuclear Plant project, a prototype of a modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, is an illustrative example, he said.

Mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the project was suspended after the Energy Department decided in 2011 not to proceed into the detailed design and license application phases. DOE’s decision cited the reluctance of vendors, owners and operators, and customers to commit to substantial upfront cost sharing.

“The main problem is the cost and difficulty of obtaining the necessary analyses and experimental data to satisfy regulatory requirements and ensure that new reactors can operate safely,” Lyman said. “This is a fundamental issue we think Congress needs to address through oversight of the budget for nuclear energy [research and development].”…..

April 23, 2016 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Russia keenly promoting ?unaffordable nuclear power to Hungary, South Africa

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaRUSSIA COULD SCORE BIG IN SA, HUNGARY’S NUCLEAR EXPANSION PLANS, EyeWitness News, 22 Apr 16  Lobbyists are challenging the legality of SA’s proposed 9,600 megawatt nuclear build programme. Rahima Essop  BUDAPEST – Russia could benefit in both South Africa and Hungary’s nuclear expansion plans, but there are procurement and legal hurdles.

Environmental lobbyists are challenging the legality of South Africa’s proposed 9,600 megawatt nuclear build programme before government opens the tender process.

At the same time, the European Commission is probing whether Hungary’s decision to award a contract to Russia to build two new nuclear reactors was in line with its procurement regulations.

Eighty percent of the financing for the Hungarian project would be covered by a loan from Russia, to be paid off over 21 years at a stepped interest rate…….

In South Africa, opposition politicians are concerned government’s nuclear build programme is not affordable and will plunge the country deeper into debt.

Russian atomic energy company, Rosatom has said it’s open to help finance the project, if it’s selected as the preferred bidder.

However, it’s unclear when Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson will call for quotes for the tender.

Rosatom has sponsored a press trip to Hungary to showcase its capacity to build power plants across the globe…….

April 23, 2016 Posted by | marketing of nuclear, Russia | Leave a comment

High time that USA ratified the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

world-nuclear-weapons-freeThe United States Needs to Step Up and Ratify the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
With nuclear tensions on the rise in East Asia, Washington finally needs to show some leadership and commit to a testing freeze. Foreign Policy, 22 Apr 16 
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). It should be a cause for celebration, but it’s not; the treaty still remains in legal limbo. The fact is that out of the eight countries whose ratification is needed for the CTBT’s entry into force, two are permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and bear special responsibility for international peace and security — the United States and China.

Testing of nuclear weapons was one of the most visible manifestations of the Cold War. Nuclear explosions sent ripples putting peace and security under duress. The struggle to outlaw testing of nuclear weapons became the unifying factor in the global push to stop the arms race and the first international agreement demonstrating that success was possible was the Moscow Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Tests in Three Environments, also known as the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, negotiated by Russia, Britain, and the United States.

In subsequent years, Soviet and American experts cooperated in the context of the international Group of Scientific Experts laying out the foundations of the CTBT verification regime. While the actual conclusion of the treaty did not happen until 1996, the Soviet Union was the first of the P-5 states to announce a moratorium on nuclear testing on Oct. 24, 1990. Russia has since adhered to this voluntary undertaking. The United States issued its own nuclear-testing moratorium in 1992 followed by all the other P-5 countries………

Russian ratification was concluded in 2000 with the expectation that the United States would conclude its own ratification process despite the rejection of the treaty by the U.S. Senate in October 1999. Rather than wait for the United States, Russian leadership supported the CTBT when its future was not clear. …..

Expectations raised by President Barack Obama in his Prague speech seven years ago — when he made CTBT ratification a top priority for his administration — were short-lived. With the presidential election later this year, there is precious little time to waste. It is imperative to move forward and to demonstrate real support for the treaty……

In the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, there is momentum to advance adherence to the CTBT in the Middle East. No states in the region conduct nuclear tests. Key states have signed the CTBT; they have already said “no” to nuclear testing. But they need to turn this “no” into a “never.” The 20th anniversary of the treaty is an ideal time to move ahead. Another way ahead is to ensure real progress toward creation in the Middle East of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other WMD………

April 23, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA Nuclear Information and Resource Service launches petition against South Australian waste import plan

text don't nuclear waste AustraliaHelp stop A Global Mobile Chernobyl! Nuclear Information and Resource Service, 23 Apr 16,   A group of politicians and business people are developing a plan to build an international high-level nuclear waste dump in South Australia–a nation that has no commercial nuclear reactors. The plan is strongly opposed by many South Australians and by an overwhelming majority of Aboriginal people, who own the land.

The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, representing Aboriginal people from across Australia, calls on nuclear nations NOT to dump nuclear waste in Australia. The nuclear industry has a track record of Aboriginal dispossession and environmental pollution–from atomic bomb tests to uranium mining to nuclear waste dump proposals.

NIRS is supporting our friends in Australia and we hope you, and your organization, will too, by signing on to a petition of support by going hereYou can also learn more about the issue at this site.

Individuals: please sign the simple statement of support below.

Dear friends in the Australian Nuclear-Free Alliance community, 

Thank you for your commitment to “Keep It in the Ground” by your efforts to stop uranium mining in your lands. 

We stand with you. We, the people, must and will stop the dirty, deadly and deceptive nuclear industry. We have heard that your lands are now being targeted by global nuclear waste companies. We are the community of Nuclear Information and Resource Service supporters. Collectively and as individuals, we commit to speak out and act to prevent your home from becoming a dumping ground for global nuclear waste. 

Our planet and our struggle is shared and NIRS and ANFA are stronger together. 
Thank you for standing for health, hope and your home. We stand with you.

USA only – 847 signatures so far

April 23, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

EDF plan to help finance Hinkley nuclear project could be illegal

justiceflag-EULegal challenge fuels doubt over Westcountry nuclear power station By WMNK Rossiter April 22, 2016 By Keith Rossiter A French government plan to help energy company EDF to build a nuclear power station in Somerset could be illegal, barristers have warned.

Greenpeace and green energy company Ecotricity released a legal opinion on a proposed package of financial support.

French economy minister Emmanuel Macron insisted this week that the £18 billion Hinkley Point C power station will go ahead, in spite of doubts over the viability of the project.

EDF won the contract to build Hinkley Point, but has delayed giving the final go-ahead for months. The company has still not signed off a contract with its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation.

Mr Macron said he was “actively working” with EDF and the UK Government to draw up the “final points” of a deal for Hinkley and that it was “very important for France” that the project went ahead.

EDF declined to comment on the Greenpeace claims.

The latest speculation, fuelled by Mr Macron, is that the French government would accept dividends from EDF in the form of shares rather than cash.

The legal experts say that the capital injection this would give to EDF would constitute state aid.

“This would destroy a level playing field for European energy companies,” Greenpeace said.

John Sauven, Greenpeace UK executive director, said: “The only way Hinkley can be kept alive is on the life support machine of state aid.

“The UK Government needs to stop penalising the UK renewable energy industry in favour of propping up an ailing state-owned nuclear industry in France.

“The UK should be a haven for renewable energy investment given the massive potential for wind, solar and tidal to cost effectively meet our energy needs.”

The legal opinion from competition and EU law barristers Jon Turner QC, Ben Rayment and Julian Gregory says that the reported refinancing plans for EDF are likely to be illegal under EU law unless and until they are approved by the European Commission.

Greenpeace has written to Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, and George Osborne, the Chancellor, warning them not to proceed with the project unless the French state support has been notified to and approved by the Commission.

Ecotricity says State aid for Hinkley would be harmful to EDF’s competitors.

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “It’s time for everyone to realise that we’ve reached the end of the road for Hinkley Point – it’s not going to happen.

“Illegal state aid is one thing, but there are technical problems too. EDF is yet to build one of these reactors and their first two attempts are, between them, 16 years late and billions over budget.

“Our government needs to change its stance on green energy, which powered a quarter of the country last year and could do so much more if the sector received even a fraction of the economic and political support given the nuclear industry.”

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has already asked the European Commission to investigate whether a proposed rescue plan for Hinkley C was in breach of European state aid rules.

She said: “The numbers for the Hinkley deal have never stacked up and it is clear that the commercial case for this white elephant is dead.

“We now have a political battle where the stakes for both the UK and France are just too high to admit failure.”

This week Amber Rudd said that further delays or even a cancellation of Hinkley would not compromise national energy supply.

Dr Scott Cato said: “We know the lights won’t go out if there is a concerted effort to implement Plan B based on renewable energy, energy efficiency and innovative smart grid and energy storage solutions.

“This could be delivered in time to prevent blackouts and create 122,000 quality jobs – many more than nuclear could ever hope to deliver.”

April 23, 2016 Posted by | France, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

China tests very long range ballistic missile with 10 nuclear warheads

missile-risingChina tests ballistic missiles with the longest range in the world, capable of striking US or Britain with TEN nuclear warheads
Dongfeng-41 ballistic missile is capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads 
  • The rockers are believed to have a maximum range of around 8,700 miles
  • Pentagon officials slammed China for testing ‘intercontinental weapons’
  • China’s defence ministry refused to deny that a test had been carried out
  • For more of the latest news from China visit


China has tested a weapon which could be used to strike London and the United States with nuclear warheads.

The Dongfeng-41 missile, which has the longest range of any ballistic rocket in the world, can carry up to ten nuclear warheads.

US Pentagon officials are said to have slammed China for testing the ‘intercontinental weapons’, which have a maximum range of around 8,700 miles.

China hit back at its critics today, saying it was perfectly ‘normal’ to carry out ballistic missile launches.

US media site Washington Free Beacon, citing unnamed Pentagon officials, reported that China had carried out a test of its DF-41 long-range missile on April 12.

The report linked the tests to tensions between Washington and Beijing over the South China Sea, noting it came three days before a visit by US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter.

In a brief response, China’s defence ministry did not deny a test had been carried out, but dismissed media reports of a specific location as ‘pure speculation’.

A statement on the ministry’s website said: ‘It is normal for us to carry out scientific research tests in our own territory, according to our plans, and they are not aimed at any specific nations or targets.’

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, which is home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and is believed to contain vast oil reserves.

April 23, 2016 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China planning Floating Nuclear Power Plants

floating nuclear powership ChinaChina to Develop Floating Nuclear Power Plants, NYT, By MICHAEL FORSYTHE APRIL 22, 2016 HONG KONG — All the radar systems, lighthouses, barracks, ports and airfields that China has set up on its newly built island chain in the South China Sea require tremendous amounts of electricity, which is hard to come by in a place hundreds of miles from the country’s power grid.

Beijing may have come up with a solution: floating nuclear power plants.

A state-owned company, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, is planning to build a fleet of the vessels to provide electricity to remote locations including offshore oil platforms and the contentious man-made islands, the state-run newspaper Global Times reported on Friday.

The paper quoted an executive at the company, Liu Zhengguo, as saying that “demand is pretty strong” for the floating power stations, which would be built by one of its subsidiaries.

In January, Xu Dazhe, the director of the China Atomic Energy Authority,told reporters in Beijing that China was planning to develop offshore floating nuclear energy plants, saying they “must undergo a rigorous, scientific evaluation,” but also linking these to China’s desire to become a “maritime power.”……

Typhoons regularly cross the South China Sea, and ships and submarines that run on nuclear power generally have the means to quickly sail away from a storm. It is unclear how mobile or seaworthy these reactor ships will be. Safety regulations for the seaborne reactors are being drawn up and reviewed, Global Times said, quoting Tang Bo, an official at China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration.

David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and the director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that in the event of a major nuclear accident at a floating barge, like a meltdown of the reactor core, winds could carry radioactivity to large population centers.

“The floating nuke accident scenario also carries with it the potential for molten parts of the reactor core burning through the bottom of the barge to reach the water below,” Mr. Lochbaum wrote in an email. “The water is good for cooling, but not good for containment.”……..

Gregory B. Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at C.S.I.S. said it was too soon to tell how a possible deployment of the floating nuclear power stations would play out in the complicated politics of the South China Sea, though he said it was “potentially worrisome.”

“But it appears that the idea hasn’t gotten any farther than conceptualization yet, so we seem to have years to wait before we find out,” Mr. Poling wrote in an email.

A rendering of a possible Chinese floating nuclear power station was published on the English-language website of Global Times’s parent company, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, People’s Daily. The image showed the small ship or barge next to a pier, surrounded by what looked like floating ice.

April 23, 2016 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment