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

The affection of the central nervous system by incorporated radionuclides Cs-137

It has been known for a long time, and without a doubt, that even low levels of radiation in our food or water can have disastrous effects, even at levels of say 30 or 40 Bq/kG of consumed food. 

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http://chernobyl-today.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97%3A2016-04-04-10-09-33&catid=18&Itemid=38&lang=en

And here is the study itself.
http://chernobyl-today.org/images/stories/bandazhevsky_lelevich_1995.pdf

August 12, 2016 Posted by | radiation, Reference | , , | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear weapons store in Turkey – a vulnerable target that should be moved

warheads nuclearLet’s get our nuclear weapons out of Turkey, LA Times,  Steve text-relevantAndreasen, 11 Aug 16 “……..After a faction within the Turkish military tried to overthrow the Turkish government last month, one of the many arrested for his alleged role in the attempted coup was a commanding officer at the Incirlik Air Base. That base — according to numerous media reports — is a major NATO installation hosting one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in Europe.

What if the Turkish base commander at Incirlik had ordered his troops surrounding the perimeter of the base to turn their guns on the U.S. soldiers that reportedly guard U.S. nuclear storage bunkers there?

What if anti-American Turkish protesters, believing the U.S. was behind the coup plot and that it was harboring the coup’s leader (ominously reminiscent of how Iranians felt about America and the shah 37 years ago) decided to march on Incirlik chanting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans (as has actually happened) and taken over the base?

Leaving aside the coup, what if Islamic State were to attack Incirlik? In March, the Pentagon reportedly ordered military families out of southern Turkey, primarily from Incirlik, due to terrorism-related security concerns.

While we’ve avoided disaster so far, we have ample evidence that the security of U.S. nuclear weapons stored in Turkey can change literally overnight. Now fully aware of the dangers, the Obama administration should remove any remaining nuclear weapons from Turkey – and the next president should remove all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe……..

Nuclear deterrence does not require the U.S. to store nuclear bombs in Turkey, or elsewhere in Europe. The U.S. has long-range “strategic” nuclear weapons to ward off hostile powers and guarantee the security of all NATO allies. But since the end of the Cold War, most military leaders believe that our short-range “tactical” nuclear weapons based in Europe have virtually no utility, for the simple reason that no U.S. president is likely to use them…….

storing tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey and in other NATO nations comes with the increasing risk of vulnerability to an evolving and more deadly terrorist threat, or to domestic unrest. In the wake of an incident at a nuclear storage site — for which the U.S. would be held accountable and suffer long-term consequences with allies — it would be difficult to explain that vulnerable targets were left in place due to a perceived need to reassure our allies. …..http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-andreasen-nuclear-weapons-turkey-20160811-snap-story.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Turkey, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China’s backdown on nuclear waste facility could be permanent

in China, suspensions of contentious projects have a way of quietly turning into permanent cancellations, and Lianyungang appears likely to follow that pattern.

“Don’t underestimate just how determined the public is in opposition to nuclear waste, which is far more dangerous than wastewater from any paper pulp mill.”

Protest-No!flag-ChinaChinese City Backs Down on Proposed Nuclear Fuel Plant After Protests, NYT, 点击查看本文中文版 Read in Chinese By CHRIS BUCKLEY AUG. 10, 2016 BEIJING — Bowing to days of passionate street protests, a city government in eastern China said Wednesday that it had halted any plans to build a nuclear fuel plant there. The reversal was the latest indication of how public distrust could hold back China’s ambitious plans for expanding its nuclear power industry.

The government of Lianyungang, a city near the coast of Jiangsu Province, announced the retreat in a terse message online. “The people’s government of Lianyungang has decided to suspend preliminary work for selecting a site for the nuclear cycle project,” it read, referring to a proposed plant for reprocessing used fuel from nuclear plants.

No reason was given, but it appeared clear enough. In recent days, residents have taken to the streets to oppose any decision to build the plant nearby. The main urban area of Lianyungang is just 20 miles southwest of a large and growing nuclear power plant on the coast, but the idea of a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility also being built in the area seemed to push public unease to a new height…….The announcement does not mean the nuclear fuel-reprocessing proposal is dead. The project is a collaboration between the China National Nuclear Corporation and a French company, Areva, and it has high-level government support, although no final agreement to build it has been signed. Five other Chinese provinces are under consideration for the initiative, and Lianyungang could lift its suspension. The two companies have said that they want to start building in 2020 and finish by 2030.

 But in China, suspensions of contentious projects have a way of quietly turning into permanent cancellations, and Lianyungang appears likely to follow that pattern. The big question now will be whether public opposition coalesces in the five other areas under consideration.All but one — Gansu Province in the northwest — is a heavily populated coastal province. Gansu is already home to China’s first civilian nuclear reprocessing plant, a small facility that has been held back by technical problems……..

On Chinese social media, and even on news websites, commentators said that the contention in Lianyungang showed that the public should have a bigger say in nuclear energy planning.

 “In just a few days, the official stand of Lianyungang has undergone a sea change,” read a comment on Sohu.com, a Chinese news website. “Don’t underestimate just how determined the public is in opposition to nuclear waste, which is far more dangerous than wastewater from any paper pulp mill.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/world/asia/china-nuclear-fuel-lianyungang.html?_r=1

August 12, 2016 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

Middle East scorched with record high temperatures

heat_waveAn epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser WP, By Hugh Naylor August 10 BAGHDAD — Record-shattering temperatures this summer have scorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come.

In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the mushrooming populations of the Middle East and North Africa will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming.If that happens, conflicts and refugee crises far greater than those now underway are probable, said Adel Abdellatif, a senior adviser at the U.N. Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Arab States who has worked on studies about the effect of climate change on the region.

“This incredible weather shows that climate change is already taking a toll now and that it is — by far — one of the biggest challenges ever faced by this region,” he said.

These countries have grappled with remarkably warm summers in recent years, but this year has been particularly brutal. Parts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran experienced a heat index — a measurement that factors in humidity as well as temperature — that soared to 140 degrees in July, and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, recorded an all-time high temperature of nearly 126 degrees. Southern Morocco’s relatively cooler climate suddenly sizzled last month, with temperatures surging to highs between 109 and 116 degrees. In May, record-breaking temperatures in Israel led to a surge in ­heat-related illnesses.

Temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq startled observers. On July 22, the mercury climbed to 129 degrees in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. A day earlier, it reached 129.2 in Mitribah, Kuwait. If confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, the two temperatures would be the hottest ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.

[Two Middle East locations hit 129 degrees]

The bad news isn’t over, either. Iraq’s heat wave is expected to continue this week……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/an-epic-middle-east-heat-wave-could-be-global-warmings-hellish-curtain-raiser/2016/08/09/c8c717d4-5992-11e6-8b48-0cb344221131_story.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | climate change, MIDDLE EAST | 1 Comment

Theresa May is advised that now is the time to get out of Hinkley nuclear project.

text politicsflag-UKHinkley Point: May told to pull the plug on nuclear project over China spying accusations THERESA MAY is being urged to quit the controversial Hinkley Point C project over Chinese spying allegations. Express By ZOIE O’BRIEN, Aug 11, 2016   A scandal has broken out in the US suggesting a Chinese man was attempting to recruit US atomic experts to steal technology secrets to help China’s nuclear power programme.

But the legal papers include the name of China General Nuclear Power (CGN), which holds a stake in the UK’s planned new nuclear power station – Hinkley Point C.

Szuhsiung Ho, a senior adviser to CGN, will appear in court next week to face charges. As a result the Prime Minister is being urged to pull the British project immediately.

May paused development last month over national security fears but now she is being told to scrap plans altogether.

Paul Dorfman, a senior research fellow at University College London, said the British prime minister does not have to offend the Chinese. He suggested she could blame poor reactor technology from France’s EDF.

He told the Guardian: “No other OECD country would let China into its critical nuclear infrastructure, given its history of nuclear weapon proliferation. May has already taken the diplomatic ‘hit’ for this, so what’s she got to lose?

“If government wanted to, it could avoid taking China to task on this by reframing the problem in the context of the failed French EPR reactor, which is three times over-cost and over-time where it’s being built in Finland and France.”

The Somerset power station has already caused huge debate with petitions and campaigns being launched to prevent its being built.

Now, spying allegations have caused huge concern in the UK. Angus MacNeil MP, the chair of the energy and climate change select committee, said there are now grave concerns about corporate integrity and must form a key part of the government’s current review of Hinkley.

He said: “I am not sure the Chinese have anything to steal from Britain in the way of nuclear secrets. That is after all why they are being brought in, but it does raise questions about how honourable the company is and whether it could cut corners on construction methods and issues like that.”……..http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/698965/Hinkley-Point-May-China-spy-fears-Somerset-project

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Time to pull the plug on unaffordable Hinkley Point nuclear power project

hungry-nukes 1flag-UKUK must pull the plug on the exorbitant Hinkley Point nuclear power project Do we submit to blackmail or do we risk losing Chinese trade? IBT,  By  , 11 Aug 16, “…..Today we’re witnessing a folly so shambolic, so expensive, so eye-poppingly spectacular that it puts all others in the shade. It goes by the name of Hinkley Point, the proposed new nuclear power station in Somerset. And it’s the misbegotten creation of our entire political establishment, with Labour, Lib-Dem and Tory MPs all complicit.

One of the few politicians who emerges with some credit from this unfolding disaster is our new Prime Minister Theresa May, who stunned everybody when immediately on entering Downing Street she refused to rubber-stamp the deal and instead ordered a review of the whole project. As we shall see, her reasons for delaying a decision were eminently sensible.

But what howls of anguish it has provoked. The French-owned energy company EDF, which will build Hinkley Point, is appalled. President Hollande’s government makes no secret of its displeasure. And now China, which is providing billions to finance the project, is weighing in with threats of dire consequences for Britain if the deal doesn’t go ahead.

August 9, 2016……It’s time to examine how we ever came to be in this mess. And for that we must go back to the last Labour Government and an Energy Secretary named Ed Miliband. Remember him?………

, it enthused the then Energy Secretary Ed Davey of the Lib Dems, “For the first time, a nuclear power station in this country will not have been built with money from the British taxpayer. This is an excellent deal for Britain and British consumers”.

Oh dear. Let’s examine the details of Mr Davey’s “excellent” deal……

then there’s the eye-watering expense of this scheme. Hinkley Point will cost at least £18billion and will probably end up costing much more. The sums are so huge that ministers could only persuade EDF to accept such a burden by allowing it to charge sky-high prices for the electricity it produces. British consumers will end up paying for the world’s most expensive electricity for decades.

And for what? The plant won’t be built for at least another eight years, even if everything goes to plan – a big “if”, given the record so far. And if ever it eventually runs at full capacity, it would provide power only for six million homes – a pitiful return for such a huge and risky investment.

Theresa May has every right to re-examine this whole misconceived project. And given the reaction of the Chinese ambassador, wouldn’t the rest of us be equally right to re-examine the wisdom of sucking up to the bullies of Beijing?  http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-must-pull-plug-exorbitant-hinkley-point-nuclear-power-project-1575151

August 12, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Sea level rise predicted by climate scientists

The three ways we know sea levels are rising are from physical tide gauges, from satellites that measure the water height, and from satellites that measure where ice is stored across the globe.

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Climate scientists make a bold prediction about sea level rise http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-scientists-bold-prediction-slr.html  10 August 2016 by John Abraham

One of the great things about science is that it allows you to make predictions. Three topclimate scientists just made a very bold prediction regarding sea level rise; we should know in a few years if they are correct.

As humans emit greenhouse gases, it’s causing the Earth to warm. That’s indisputable and proven. We can actually measure the amount of extra heat. Since most of it ends up in the oceans, we can also measure other changes in the oceans.

For instance, the oceans are rising. We know that’s indisputable. Measurements taken from physical gauges and from satellites confirm sea level rise. The cause of the rise is more complex. 

Part of the rise is from ocean warming – warm water is less dense so the sea level rises as temperatures increase. Another part of the rise is from melting ice, especially ice that is currently on land (like glaciers and ice sheets). As this ice melts and flows into the oceans, the water levels rise. A third reason for sea level changes is from alterations of where water is stored on the planet. For instance, changing rainfall patterns and storage of water underground, in lakes, or in the atmosphere can affect sea levels.

The three ways we know sea levels are rising are from physical tide gauges, from satellites that measure the water height, and from satellites that measure where ice is stored across the globe. While tide gauge measurements go back many years, they only measure water levels at their location. Many tide gauges have to be in place to get an accurate sense of what is happening globally.

Satellites, on the other hand, are much more capable of taking global measurements. The problem with satellites is they have only been taking measurements since approximately 1993 (not nearly as long as tide gauges). So scientists try to combine these two measurements to get a long-term and global picture of what is really happening.

very recent paper published in Nature has evaluated the history of sea level rise, and what they find is really interesting. The lead author (John Fasullo from the National Center for Atmospheric Research) and his colleagues tried to determine if the rate of sea level rise is changing. That is, are the water levels rising linearly, the same amount each year? Or, is the rate increasing (faster and faster each year)?

Using satellite data, the authors found little evidence of an acceleration. However, they show that this is because the satellites began measuring in 1993, right after a large volcanic eruption (Mount Pinatubo). This eruption temporarily reduced global warming because particles from the eruption blocked sunlight. Just by coincidence, the timing of the satellites and the eruption has affected the water rise so that it appears to be linear. Had the eruption not occurred, the rate would have increased.

This allows the scientists to make a prediction:

Click here to read the rest

August 12, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

UK’s £31 billion Trident submarines programme on the skids

submarine-missileflag-UKTrident plans ‘in doubt’, says government watchdog, The Ferret,  Rob Edwards on August 8, 2016 The UK’s £31 billion programme to replace Trident submarines in on the skids, according to a high-level government spending watchdog.

A report by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) to the Treasury and Cabinet Office has warned that the plan to build four new nuclear weapons submarines for the Clyde is “in doubt”.

This is despite the overwhelming vote in the House of Commons last month in favour of replacing Trident. The plan was opposed by every Scottish MP, except for the lone Tory, David Mundell.

The poor assessment of the Trident programme’s prospects was buried in a report about 143 projects published online by the IPA several days before the vote at Westminster. It gave the submarine successor programme its second worst rating of “amber/red”.

This means that the project is judged to be running into serious difficulties because of cost overruns, management problems and technical issues. “Successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas,” said the IPA.

“Urgent action is needed to address these problems and/or assess whether resolution is feasible.”

According to critics, costs have already risen by between £15 and £20 billion. The planned date for bringing the submarines into service has been delayed from 2024 to the “early 2030s”……….https://theferret.scot/trident-doubt-government-watchdog/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

$700 million of public money goes to New York’s FitzPatrick nuclear deal. WHY?

questionFlag-USAWatchdogs: Why transfer $700 million of public money in FitzPatrick nuclear deal? Syracuse.com, 9 Aug 16  SYRACUSE, N.Y. Watchdog groups warned Tuesday that New York may be giving up too much by transferring $700 million from a public fund to Exelon Corp. as part of the deal to keep open the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County.

Under terms of the deal announced Tuesday, the state will transfer the cash from a New York Power Authority trust fund — set aside to pay for the eventual decommissioning of the FitzPatrick plant — to Exelon Corp.

Two watchdog groups who track the nuclear power industry say they are concerned about the transfer from public to private hands.

Jessica Azulay, program director for the Syracuse-based Alliance for a Green Economy, said the unprecedented deal announced Tuesday gave too much control to Exelon.

“Governor Cuomo has truly given away the store,” Azulay said in a statement. “As if the billions of dollars of consumer money gifted in subsidies to the nuclear industry weren’t enough, now we find out that another $700 million in public assets will be handed to Exelon in order to sweeten the deal for their purchase of FitzPatrick.”

Money in the state’s decommissioning fund is set aside to make sure that FitzPatrick and its nuclear waste will be safely handled and cleaned up when the plant reaches the end of its useful life and is taken off line.

Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Takoma Park, Md., said now the public will lose control over that process.

“Public ownership over FitzPatrick’s decommissioning fund provides a safeguard to prevent Exelon from misusing money New Yorkers paid to ensure a responsible cleanup, and for the state to have some control over when and how that cleanup will happen after it retires,” Judson said.

“Most states are not so lucky to have a way of reigning in nuclear owners who plan to mothball nuclear sites for decades, leaving the contamination and the waste to fester,” Judson said. “It is folly for New York to give up this fund over to Exelon.”…….. Contact Mark Weiner anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 571-970-3751   http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2016/08/watchdogs_why_transfer_700_million_of_public_money_in_fitzpatrick_nuclear_deal.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK government’s own projections find solar and wind ‘cheaper than new nuclear’

poster renewables not nuclearflag-UKSolar and wind ‘cheaper than new nuclear’ by the time Hinkley is built https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/11/solar-and-wind-cheaper-than-new-nuclear-by-the-time-hinkley-is-built
UK government’s own projections expect onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost less per megawatt hour than new nuclear by 2025,
Guardian, , 11 Aug 16, The government expects solar and wind power to be cheaper than new nuclear power by the time Hinkley Point C is completed, its own projections show.

Theresa May’s government last month made a surprise decision to delay a deal on Hinkley, prompting a renewed look at what alternatives could power Britain if ministers this autumn fail to back new reactors in Somerset.

An unpublished report by the energy department shows that it expects onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost around £50-75 per megawatt hour of power generated in 2025. New nuclear is anticipated to be around £85-125/MWh, in line with the guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh that the government has offered Hinkley’s developer, EDF.

The figures were revealed in a National Audit Office (NAO) report on nuclear in July. “The [energy] department’s forecasts for the levelised cost of electricity of wind and solar in 2025 have decreased since 2010. The cost forecast for gas has not changed, while for nuclear it has increased,” the NAO said.

The NAO cited the forecasts as coming from the energy department in March 2016. The department said the NAO had been provided with an early draft of its report, and the full version would be published soon.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of the trade body Scottish Renewables, said: “These numbers speak for themselves: onshore wind and solar will be significantly better value than all other large scale sources of power in the UK by 2025.
“It is time to start backing the two technologies to deliver the clean power we need to hit our climate change targets and the cheap electricity required to keep bills down for consumers.”

Molly Scott Cato, a Green party MEP, said: “These latest figures confirm what many of us have been saying for years: that the Hinkley project is a dud.

“The cost of renewables is tumbling and Hinkley will become a giant white elephant as it struggles to compete with cheaper renewable options. Research has shown that solar power would be a less costly way of generating the equivalent amount of power, and now the government’s own projections show that onshore wind too will be cheaper than nuclear by the time Hinkley is built.”

Since coming to power in May 2015, the government ended onshore wind subsidies and allowed communities to veto turbines near them, as well as axing and cutting various subsidies for solar.

Government data published on Thursday showed that renewables generated 25.1% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of this year. Around half of that came from on and offshore wind combined.

At the weekend, high winds in Scotland helped windfarms match the entire country’s electricity needs for a day. Scotland has some of the biggest onshore windfarms in the UK, and a target of generating 100% of electricity from renewables by 2020. 

August 12, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Stop the nuclear industry welfare programme

Tax - payersAfter 60 years, the taxpayer should not continue to subsidise multibillion-dollar corporations in the nuclear energy sector Guardian,  and , 13 Apr 2012 “……Nuclear welfare started with research and development. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, since 1948 the federal government has spent more than $95bn (in 2011 dollars) on nuclear energy research and development (R&D). That is more than four times the amount spent on solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, and hydropower combined. But federal R&D was not enough; the industry also wanted federal liability insurance too, which it got back in 1957 with the Price-Anderson Act. This federal liability insurance programme text-Price-Anderson-Actfor nuclear plants was meant to be temporary, but Congress repeatedly extended it, most recently through 2025. Price-Anderson puts taxpayers on the hook for losses that exceed $12. 6bn if there is a nuclear plant disaster. When government estimates show the cost for such a disaster could reach $720bn in property damage alone, that’s one sweetheart deal for the nuclear industry!

R&D and Price-Anderson insurance are still just the tip of the iceberg. From tax breaks for uranium mining and loan guarantees for uranium enrichment to special depreciation benefits and lucrative federal tax breaks for every kilowatt hour from new plants, nuclear is heavily subsidised at every phase. The industry also bilks taxpayers when plants close down with tax breaks for decommissioning plants. Further, it is estimated that the cost to taxpayers for the disposal of radioactive nuclear waste could be as much as $100bn……https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/13/nuclear-industry-us-welfare

August 12, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Are tax-payers paying for nutty space nuclear research?

BRINGING NUCLEAR POWER TO MARS – FRANK H. SHU (SETI TALKS 2016), Raw Science  SETI Talks @ MicroSoft Silicon Valley – July 29, 2016 Dr. Frank Shu lectured with SETI Talks at MicroSoft Silicon Valley on July 29, 2016:

spacecradt-plutonium-

Establishing a lunar base is probably a wise first first step to colonizing Mars, and colonizing Mars will be a giant leap forward for humankind to travel to the stars…..

A reliable source of primary energy is needed for such tasks, but anywhere on the surface of the Moon, there is no sunlight two weeks out of four, and no wind whatsoever. Nuclear power is the default option, just as is the case of naval submarines where the crews need to live and work in closed environments submerged under the water of the ocean for months at a time. However, the light water reactors of naval submarines are not a good choice for environments that lack large bodies of water, and we argue, as first realized by a former NASA Engineer, Kirk Sorensen, that molten salt reactors, of the type invented by Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, are much better suited for a lunar base, or for that matter, a Mars colony.

Dr. Shu discussed his patented design for the best possible two-fluid molten-salt breeder-reactor (2F-MSBR) that one could build, using thorium that can be mined locally without requiring shipments from mother Earth. He closed by considering two spin-off applications:
(1) saving civilization on Earth from the worst ravages of climate change by scaled-up 2F-MSBRs;
(2) using the fission fragments of related nuclear fission reactions for ion-propulsion that produces rockets two to three orders of magnitude faster than achievable with chemical rockets, making possible, perhaps, a first generation of starships. http://www.rawscience.tv/bringing-nuclear-power-to-mars-frank-h-shu-seti-talks-2016/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

Offshore wind is cheaper and safer than Hinkley Point

The Walney wind farm, in the Irish Sea. Credit: WikimediaWinds of spare change, Breaking Views, 8 August 2016 By Olaf Storbeck Theresa May should look to Denmark instead of France to secure Britain’s future energy needs. ……As things stand, the UK is proposing to guarantee French state-controlled utility EDF a minimum price of 92.50 pounds for each megawatt-hour of electricity produced at the 18-billion-pound Hinkley Point project. Back in 2013, when the deal was struck, offshore wind was almost 50 percent more pricey.

Wind technology’s costs have plummeted since then. The latest generation of wind farms on the ocean is producing electricity for less than 85 pounds per megawatt hour rather than 130 pounds, new data from state-controlled Danish utility DONG Energy shows. Bigger and more efficient turbines contribute, as well as improvements in construction and grid connection.

This progress, which is faster than even DONG expected, is undermining the economic case for Hinkley Point. Offshore wind is already 8 percent cheaper. And the gap is likely to widen, as the industry continues to be on a steep learning curve, while construction costs for nuclear plants have a notorious tendency to creep upwards.

Renewable energy’s usual issue is intermittency. But offshore wind out at sea is strong and steady, so turbines generate power 98 percent of the time. Replacing Hinkley Point’s planned capacity of 3.2 gigawatts with offshore wind would admittedly require building wind parks of twice that size – offshore turbines on average deliver only around half of their nominal capacity. But as there is no shortage in potential locations for offshore wind farms, such a large scale ramp-up is technologically possible.

Offshore wind is not just cheaper, but also less risky than Hinkley Point. Wind parks usually go on the grid within four years, compared to at least a decade for planned nuclear plants. Similar reactors in Finland and France are dogged by a tripling of costs and years of delay. And the UK taxpayer would have to pay the nuclear subsidies over 35 years, while those for wind farms usually run less than half that long.

That’s before the wind turbines’ other obvious benefit: they don’t leave toxic radioactive waste behind. If May wants to pull the plug on Hinkley Point, she has a ready-made case. https://www.breakingviews.com/considered-view/cheap-wind-energy-can-deal-final-blow-to-hinkley/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Many decades after closure, UK’s Dounreay Fast Reactor is still dangerously radioactive

Coolant removed from Dounreay Fast Reactor, WNN 05 August 2016 A ten-year process to remove 68 tonnes of highly-radioactive liquid metal coolant from the primary circuit of the UK’s Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) has now been completed, marking a major milestone in its decommissioning.

Dounreay’s experimental fast breeder reactor, housed inside a steel sphere, led British nuclear R&D during the 1950s and 60s. It became the world’s first fast reactor to provide electricity to a national grid in 1962…..Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) announced today that some 68 tonnes of the liquid metal coolant – a blend of sodium and potassium called NaK – have been removed from the primary circuit of the DFR and destroyed over a ten-year period.

Dounreay 1

Most of the NaK had been removed by 2012, since when work has been under way to remove the last of the coolant from the difficult to access pipework and base of the structure…….

DSRL said the destruction of the DFR’s liquid metal coolant has removed “one of the highest hazards remaining in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) estate”.

NDA chief operating officer Pete Lutwyche said, “The difficulty of this task can’t be understated, and I welcome the news that this work is complete. Everyone involved should be proud of their achievement.”

The focus of decommissioning work at the DFR will now be the removal of some 1000 breeder elements that remain in the reactor vessel, DSRL said. This must be completed before cleaning and removal of the reactor and its nine kilometres of cooling pipework. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Coolant-removed-from-Dounreay-Fast-Reactor-0508164.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s sham review of safety allegations

biasCNSC review dismissing nuclear-safety concerns called a ‘sham’ GLORIA GALLOWAY OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail – Corrected version, Aug. 09, 2016 An internal review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission dismisses allegations that important information was withheld during the licensing of nuclear plants but two nuclear scientists say the review is “less than impartial” and a “sham” that should give Canadians no comfort.

In June, CNSC president Michael Binder received an anonymous letter, purported to have been written by employees at the nuclear regulator, that pointed to five separate cases in which the commission’s staff sat on relevant information that might have called the safety of a nuclear plant into question.

Peter Elder, a strategic adviser within the CNSC’s regulatory operations branch, who says he was able to maintain a neutral position because he did not work on the safety of nuclear power plants between 2008 and 2015, conducted a review that concluded late last week that none of the five cases point to any safety issues………

But two nuclear experts have written subsequent letters to Mr. Binder asking him to discard Mr. Elder’s review and to allow an arm’s-length inquiry into the allegations of the anonymous whistle-blowers.

Frank Greening, a nuclear chemist who is a former senior research scientist at Ontario Hydro, the predecessor of Ontario Power Generation, wrote that Mr. Elder’s claim to have conducted an independent investigation was “quite extraordinary and ridiculous.”

Mr. Elder “cannot possibly be independent because he is an employee of the CNSC,” wrote Dr. Greening. He asked Mr. Binder to “reject Mr. Elder’s less than impartial review.”

In a telephone interview, Dr. Greening said PSAs have, for many years “been taken very very seriously and formed the backbone of a licence renewal. And now the CNSC turns around and says well actually, they’re really not that important. That’s absurd.

“If I was one of those whistle-blowers, I would be very very distressed at this stage of the game.”

In a second letter, Sunil Nijhawan, a nuclear safety engineer with more than 35 years in the industry, wrote that Mr. Elder’s conclusions display an ignorance of basic safety principles and the legislated role of the CNSC.

“After a lifetime of working in PSAs I am now asking why so many of us toiled for years and why the industry was forced to spend well over $50-million on PSAs so far?” Dr. Nijhawan wrote. “Why are many in the rest of the world doing brilliant peer-reviewed PSAs and using the findings to not only improve operations, reduce risk and also come up with improved designs?”

Mr. Elder’s “sham” review only reinforces that view held by international nuclear professionals that there is an “incestuous” relationship between the CNSC and the utilities, Dr. Nijhawan wrote.

CNSC officials said in an e-mail on Tuesday that Mr. Elder’s review would be discussed at a commission meeting next week and they could make no further comment.

Tom Mulcair, the Leader of the federal New Democrats, wrote to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr after the anonymous letter became public to say he found the allegations alarming and warning that they must not be ignored……..http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/cnsc-review-dismissing-nuclear-safety-concerns-called-a-sham/article31338092/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment