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

This week in nuclear and climate news

a-cat-CANOnce again, I have to admit, that however terrible the nuclear industry is, the climate threat is the currently urgent global danger. That’s because the “window of opportunity” to contain it is near to closing.    Global warming will accelerate as oceans reach limits of remediation. Climate change action can be stopped by Trans Pacific Partnership.

Internationally, the nuclear industry, notably in China, got  a boost from the UK government’s decision to go ahead with the Hinkley Point C project. Not everyone was happy about that. Russia felt the need to warn of the negative effect that would resound around the world, if the Hinkley project stuffed up.

Another secret and dangerous trade deal – the Trade In Services Agreement.

Risk of another Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident is plausible, experts say.

Practically permanent plunge for the uranium market.

EUROPE. European Court of Auditors see nuclear decommissioning funds shortfall.

UK.  A second successful nuclear convoy holdup by intrepid Scottish pensioner.   BBC and Science Media Centre (SMC UK) are pro nuclear spruikers. Liberal Democrats oppose Hinkley nuclear plan – ‘very poor value for money’. Theresa May caved in, approving Hinkley nuclear, but the nuclear debate is far from over. Major challenges ahead for Britain’s new nuclear plans – warns EDF chief.  Scotttish politicians slam the danger, secrecy, of hazardous air transport of nuclear wastes.

JAPAN. Area not far from Tokyo hit by 6.4 earthquake. Failure of Japan’s 20 year, costly, Monju nuclear reprocessing project   FukushimaUnderground Water Now Surfacing in Fukushima Daiichi.  Panel to examine options for wrecked Fukushima plant. Fukushima unveils grand plan for alternative energy transmission line networks.


SOUTH AFRICA. High Court in South Africa to hear case against government’s nuclear power plan. . President Zuma signs secret Russian nuclear deal   South Africa’s Energy Minister is asked to release all nuclear-bid information. South Africa has no plan for dealing with nuclear waste.

CHINA. Further nuclear power development in China will require local public consent

CANADA. Canada’s SNC Lavalin marketing nuclear reactors to China.

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Oh Hillary, did you have to sell out to the nuclear lobby?

USA election 2016Hillary Takes the Nuclear-Energy Option, National Review,  by ROBERT BRYCE September 22, 2016 She recognizes that public perceptions about nuclear power are becoming more positive. Amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at Hillary Clinton in recent weeks about Pneumonia-gate, the Clinton Foundation, and her never-ending e-mail troubles, the Democratic nominee actually made an important policy statement, one that puts her directly at odds with America’s biggest environmental groups as well as her own party’s platform. What did Clinton do?
She endorsed nuclear energy.
In a candidate questionnaire published in the September 13 issue of Scientific American, she said that addressing climate change is “too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power . . . is one of those tools.” She went on, pledging to make sure that the “climate benefits” of existing plants are “appropriately valued,” adding that she will “increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power.”……….
She has also straddled the fence on nuclear. In 2007, she said nuclear “has to be part of our energy solution.” A few months later, she said she was “agnostic” about nuclear energy. Then, in early 2008, during a Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, she touted her “energy plan that does not rely on nuclear power.”
Nevertheless, Clinton has now come out in favor of nuclear. By doing so, she has broken with the orthodoxy of the anti-nuclear Left, a group that includes the New York Times editorial board, as well as the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council,, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and many others. Recall that in June, Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club declared that his group “remains in firm opposition to dangerous nuclear power.” Furthermore, Clinton is contradicting her own party. For four decades, the Democratic party has either ignored nuclear energy or stated outright opposition to it.
In July, the party released its platform, which says climate change “poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.” But it doesn’t contain a single mention of nuclear energy. Indeed, you have to go all the way back to 1972 to find a positive statement in the party’s platforms about nuclear energy. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, voters who identify as Republican are twice as likely (47 percent to 24 percent) to support nuclear energy as are those who identify as Democrats.
Those poll numbers, as well as the Democratic party’s history, lead to an obvious question: Why has Clinton come out in favor of nuclear now? ….

September 24, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Worldwide, communities are already being destabilised by climate change

climate-changeU.S. intelligence community warns climate change is already destabilizing communities worldwide, Mashable, 23 Sept 16   The U.S. intelligence community on Wednesday released a new report finding that global warming is already acting as a destabilizing force worldwide, with more serious ramifications to come in the next two decades.

 In the report, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) — a group of public and private sector experts who advise the Director of National Intelligence — found that extreme weather events have growing implications for humans, which “suggest[s] that climate-change related disruptions are well underway.”

The report also states that during the next five years, which will largely fall within the timeframe of the next presidential administration, climate change will cause growing security risks for the U.S. that “will arise primarily from distinct extreme weather events and from the exacerbation of currently strained conditions, like water shortages.”

 According to Brian Deese, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, this is the first intelligence assessment to find that climate change is already affecting U.S. national security. Previous reports from the CIA, the Defense Department and other agencies had portrayed climate change as a future challenge.

The new intelligence report starkly warns of climate instability-driven migrations in the next two decades and was released the same week world leaders have been meeting in New York City to consider how to increase support for refugees streaming out of war-torn Syria, Somalia, Libya and other countries.

 The report states:

Over 20 years, the net effects of climate change on the patterns of global human movement and statelessness could be dramatic, perhaps unprecedented. If unanticipated, they could overwhelm government infrastructure and resources, and threaten the social fabric of communities

The report is illustrated with examples of climate-related security developments that have already occurred, such as insurgents’ exploitation of drought-enhanced desertification in a “food for Jihad” movement in northern Mali during 2015.

The report also comes as the White House announced a new policy framework requiring federal agencies to take the impacts of climate change into account when making national security-related policies and plans. President Obama established this framework through a presidential memorandum.

The NIC report provides more detailed information on how climate change will likely pose national security challenges for the U.S. during the next 20 years, raising the possibility that climate change-related impacts could cause entire countries to collapse. ………

The NIC report also considers the possibility of abrupt climate change from unanticipated tipping points in the climate system.

 “Even if sudden shifts in the climate do not materialize, gradual shifts in climate could nonetheless spark surprising secondary effects — such as a massive release of gases from melting permafrost, persistent megadroughts, extreme shifts in critical ecosystems, emerging reservoirs of new pathogens, or the sudden breakup of immense ice sheets,” the report states.

“The national security implications of such changes could be severe.”

September 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change | Leave a comment

United Nations calls on U.S., China, others to ratify nuclear test ban treaty

flag-UN-largeU.N. urges U.S., China, others to ratify nuclear test ban treaty , Reuters By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS, 23 SEPT 16, 

The United Nations Security Council urged China, the United States, North Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel and Pakistan to ratify a treaty banning nuclear explosions, which would allow the deal negotiated 20 years ago to come into force.

More than 160 countries have ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Since then India, Pakistan and North Korea have conducted nuclear tests. This month Pyongyang conducted its fifth and largest test.

The 15-member Security Council adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution on Friday with 14 votes in favor and an abstention by Egypt. It does not impose any legal obligations but adds political weight to the push for the treaty to be enacted.

The U.N. resolution calls on all states to refrain from conducting any nuclear explosions……..

September 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Thousands of Japanese protestors want an end to nuclear power, as well as shutdown of Monju reprocessing plant

protestor-JapanAnti-nuclear rally calls for more than just a Monju shutdown  By RYUJI KUDO/ Staff Writer September 23, 2016 Thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered in Tokyo on Sept. 22 to demand the government go beyond decommissioning the troubled Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor and abandon its plans to restart other nuclear power plants.

“We definitely don’t need the money-sucking and dangerous Monju,” said Hisae Sawachi, a writer and a member of the organizing committee of the demonstration, which took place under the banner “No nukes, No war.” “Why don’t government officials have the courage to close down all the other nuclear power plants?”

The rally, at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, followed the government’s decision this week to unplug the reactor, which has hardly generated any electricity despite the more than 1 trillion yen ($9.9 billion) spent on it over two decades.

Masaichi Miyashita, who heads the secretariat of an anti-nuclear group in Fukui Prefecture, told the rally that officials in Tsuruga in the prefecture, where the reactor is situated, are opposed to the government decision to decommission the reactor and want to keep it.

“I wonder how local leaders calling for the continuation of the Monju program consider the health and lives of residents,” he said. “I would like you, demonstrators, to continue to demand the decommissioning of Monju by pressuring the government not to waste taxpayers’ money.”

An estimated 9,500 people attended the rally, according to the organizer, which identifies itself as a citizens’ group that is collecting 10 million signatures for a petition to say “sayonara” to nuclear power.   Satoshi Kamata, a journalist who has written about the nuclear industry and a member of the committee, said the government should phase out the entire nuclear program.

“Unplugging Monju is just a starting point in ending Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy and the restart of nuclear power plants, as well as in changing the course of the nation’s nuclear power policy,” he said.

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

Professor Geraldine Thomas and nuclear scientific misconduct

a-cat-CANThis is part of a very important article, in which Dr Baverstock thoroughly refutes the claims that  Professor Geraldine Thomas’ made in  a BBC  interview, about Fukushima ionising radiation not being much to worry about. The BBC has since withdrawn her statements.

But that hasn’t stopped the South Australian government bringing Thomas out here to spin her stuff, in Thomas, Geraldinesupport of Weatherill’s push for SA as the global nuclear waste dump.

Thomas’ comments in the video were insulting to the intelligence of the Japanese authorities and their advisors, and extremely ill-judged from a professional radiological point of view.  The BBC was right to withdraw her comments as incorrect.

baverstock-dr-keith‘This was quite clearly scientific misconduct’  by Dr Keith Baverstock, Fissiononline 23 Sept 16  .  I will take the BBC interview first. In this interview Thomas questions the whole basis of the Japanese response to the Fukushima accident in terms of its evacuation policy. Is one to imagine that those authorities and the Japanese scientific establishment are so stupid as not to recognise that there is no risk entailing living in those areas?

The internationally agreed public dose limit is 1 mSv per year in addition to approximately 2 mSv per year from natural background radiation.  The single measurement made in that television interview indicate 2.8 microsieverts per hour, which is close to 25 mSv per year. That includes the natural background doses o at that point the dose rate is at least 20 times the public dose limit.

Surely Thomas can recognise that this must demand serious consideration by the appropriate authorities as to the safety of those who would live there? However, to determine the safety or otherwise of living there it would be necessary to do a comprehensive survey of the area.  My guess is that five years after the deposition of the radioactivity there will be a high degree of variability in measurements: some may be less in the measurement made on the programme, but others more and perhaps considerably more. Furthermore, if one were looking at a situation, for example in the UK, one would have to ensure that the most exposed person could not receive more that 1 mSv per annum. Therefore promises arguments that being indoors for example would reduce the dose rate are not valid in the context of the radiological protection of the public in general.

Whether a special dispensation applies when determining the return of evacuees  to their homes is a question that I believe needs to be discussed, because as far as I’m aware the current situation in Japan is unique. Furthermore, we are not talking about a total dose of 20 mSv for someone who returns to live in this village.  In many such villages remedial measures to reduce the dose rate are being taken, but only for the main “living areas”.  Straying beyond these areas could lead to much higher doses, and eating natural produce, mushrooms etc,  to even higher doses.

In the light of these considerations, Thomas’ comments in the video were insulting to the intelligence of the Japanese authorities and their advisors, and extremely ill-judged from a professional radiological point of view.  The BBC was right to withdraw her comments as incorrect if that is indeed what they did.

Watching the video I am inclined to believe that Thomas is being disingenuous when she says she made a numeric al error when calculating the dose from the interviewer’s measurement. She made no attempt to do any kind of calculation: the figure she cited was something she clearly had in mond at the outset: she was delivering propaganda for the nuclear industry

That in the context in which the interview took place and the way in which she was introduced to the audience, is clearly scientific misconduct.  One must also say here that the ninterviewer must have been, for an experienced journalist, amazingly gullible to have allowed the interview to be broadcast………..

Dr Keith Baverstock led the Radiation Programme at the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003.

September 24, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, media, spinbuster, UK | 3 Comments

EDF’s shares down as nuclear reactor outages cut profits

AREVA EDF crumblingEDF Warns on Profit as Nuclear Plant Outages Increase
Standard & Poor’s downgrade of EDF’s debt rating also weighs on share price

PARIS—State-controlled power utility Electricite de France cut its earnings outlook on expectations of lower nuclear output from an increase of plant outages, sending its share price down.

EDF, which last week got the go-ahead from the British government to build the £18 billion ($23.4 billion) Hinkley Point nuclear plant in the U.K., said it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between €16.3 billion ($18.3 billion) and €16.6 billion.

It previously had forecast a range of €16.3 billion to €16.8 billion. The company had already lowered its nuclear output forecast in July, but had maintained its earnings target.

 EDF’s shares downThe French power company said it was forced to close down its nuclear reactor for longer period that planned to carry out inspections after the country’s nuclear safety authority requested to conduct tests on the quality of the steel in the reactors’ vessels.

The profit warning, which sent EDF’s shares down 1.8% to €10.62, is another blow for shareholders, who have seen the value of the company lose more than 20% this year. The utility, which already suffers from low electricity prices in its home country and losses of market share, has recently embarked on expensive new projects that are deemed a political priority.

The French government, which owns about 85% of EDF, pressured the company to take a majority stake in beleaguered nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva NP. The government also pushed EDF to make the final investment decision to build the Hinkley Project in the U.K.

Some senior EDF officials and labor unions worried about the project’s impact on the company’s net debt which already stood at €37 billion last year. One board member resigned over the issue in July as did Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal in March.

The U.K. government’s approval of the Hinkley Point project prompted Standard & Poor’s to downgrade EDF’s debt rating to A- on Wednesday evening, further pressuring the share price on Thursday morning.

To help utility with such onerous projects, the French government has decided to inject €3 billion in new equity in EDF.

EDF’s revised profitability forecast takes into account a decision by the country’s top administrative court to allow the company to raise the regulated prices it charges to some of its customers, despite the opposition from the government.

Write to Inti Landauro at and William Horobin at

September 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

‘Going nuclear’ – the only option says North Korea

North Korea tells UN ‘going nuclear’ is only option North Korea’s foreign minister has told the United Nations that “going nuclear” is his country’s only way to defend itself and vowed to further bolster its nuclear military forces. SBS News, AFP    24 SEP 2016

Speaking to the General Assembly, Ri Yong-ho said his country will “continue to take measures to strengthen its national nuclear armed forces in both quantity and quality.”

He spoke just two weeks after North Korea’s fifth and most powerful nuclear test provoked worldwide condemnation, prompting the UN Security Council to begin work on a new sanctions resolution.

“Going nuclear armed is the policy of our state,” Ri, who has been foreign minister since May, told the world gathering.

“As long as there exists a nuclear weapon state in hostile relations with the DPRK (North Korea), our national security and the peace on the Korean peninsula can be defended only with reliable nuclear deterrence,” he said……..

September 24, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Danger of radioactive groundwater leak at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant

JCP reveals risk of contaminated water leakage at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP September 16, 2016

Japanese Communist Party parliamentarians in their recent on-site investigation found that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant poses a serious risk of radioactive water leakage if it is hit by a powerful earthquake.

The JCP investigation team consisting of JCP Dietmembers, Fujino Yasufumi (Lower House) and Takeda Ryosuke (Upper House), on September 15 visited the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP to examine its safety measures.

The group investigated Nos. 6 and 7 reactors, which the Nuclear Regulation Authority is examining TEPCO’s application for restart, and sites of subsidence damage caused by liquefaction due to the 2007 Chuestu Offshore Earthquake.

It has come to light that the amount of groundwater being used at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP is much larger than the amount at other NPPs in Japan. However, TEPCO explained to the JCP group that it has no idea why so much groundwater is being pumped into the nuclear power station. After the investigation, JCP member of the House of Representatives Fujino Yasufumi said to reporters, “The utility has yet to implement measures to control its use of groundwater.” Given the fact that at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, TEPCO is struggling with a serious leakage of radioactively-contaminated water which is caused by groundwater entering the crippled NPP, it is unacceptable for the power company to bring the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station back online.

Professor Emeritus of Seismology at Niigata University Tateishi Masaaki, who joined the JCP investigation team, pointed out that the NRA should examine the amount of groundwater used at the NPP and asses the seismic capacity of wells pumping up the groundwater.”

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Japan, water | Leave a comment

In 10 years or less, climate change could pass the 1.5 degrees Celsius rise

global-warming1Climate change could cross key threshold in a decade: scientists By Laurie Goering 23 Sept 16, OXFORD, England (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The planet could pass a key target on world temperature rise in about a decade, prompting accelerating loss of glaciers, steep declines in water availability, worsening land conflicts and deepening poverty, scientists said this week.

Last December, 195 nations agreed to try to hold world temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, with an aim of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But the planet is already two-thirds of the way to that lower and safer goal, and could begin to pass it in about a decade, according to Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre.

With world emissions unlikely to slow quickly enough to hit that target, it will probably be necessary to remove some carbon pollution from the atmosphere to stabilize the planet, scientists said at a University of Oxford conference on how to achieve the 1.5 degree goal.

That could happen by planting forests or by capturing and then pumping underground emissions from power plants. Or countries could turn to controversial “geoengineering” techniques, such as blocking some of the sunlight arriving on the planet, to hold down temperatures, they said.

“Negative emission technologies are likely to be needed, whether we like them or not,” said Pete Smith, a plant and soil scientist at the University of Aberdeen.

But other changes – such as reducing food waste and creating more sustainable diets, with less beef and fewer imported greenhouse vegetables – could also play a big role in meeting the goal, without so many risks, he said.

“There are lots of behavioral changes required, not just by the government … but by us,” Smith said……..

September 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Eskom makes unreliable prediction of its future cash reserves

Eskom’s R150 billion cash-reserves claim is wishful thinking – Natahsa Mazzone Natasha Mazzone |  23 September 2016  

DA says power utility’s profit of R4,6 billion a far cry from the R15 billion need a year to make up amount. The claim by Head of Generation for Eskom, Mr Matshela Koko, that Eskom could pay for the nuclear build programme by using cash-reserves, which he indicated could be R150 billion in 10 years’ time, is wishful thinking.

Eskom recorded a R4.6 billion profit in the 2015/16 financial year, a far cry from the R15 billion in profits it would need to generate consistently for the next 10 years to make up R150 billion.

Considering that by Eskom’s admission electricity demand is down, coupled with economic growth projected at a mere 0.6%, this raises serious questions about the assumptions underlying their projections.

I will therefore be submitting parliamentary questions to Eskom to find out how they intend to generate these massive cash reserves.

The validity of their projections notwithstanding, spending any cash reserves on a nuclear build program would be financially irresponsible. Eskom currently owes its creditors R322 billion underwritten by R350 billion in government guarantees. The entity should rather use excess cash reserves to decrease these liabilities.

Moreover, the fact that Eskom believe they can generate these massive profits whilst pushing for well-above inflation tariff increases on electricity, should be a slap in the face of the majority of poor citizens in our country. Energy and electricity costs are eating into their limited budget and now with these tariff increases, their pockets will be hurting even more.

The big question is why Eskom needs to be building nuclear in the first place when future electricity shortages would be better addressed by cheaper and more sustainable renewable and gas projects. With advancements in storage and battery technologies, these would be the better alternative by 2035.

The Minister is the only person with the prerogative to choose nuclear over any other form of energy, in this vein Mr Koko is overstepping his fiduciary duties to even suggest that Eskom would be investing in Nuclear.

In the context of its massive debt, and repeated requests for above inflation tariff increases, it is irrational to utilise any cash reserves in pursuit of the much maligned nuclear “wonder” programme and once again calls the motivation for the nuke deal into question.

Issued by Natasha Mazzone, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 23 September 2016

September 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, South Africa, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Uranium Prices at 11-Year Low

 Economic Calendar, September 23, 2016  Uranium prices remain under pressure, and are currently at an 11-year low, as demand for the commodity remains weak with nuclear power in a hiatus while new plants come online. Even though demand is depressed, miners continue to explore for the commodity, which is adding sentimental pressure over concerns that new uranium supplies will come online before demand takes off

September 24, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA House committee voted to remove a 2020 deadline for a nuclear power plant tax credit

Tax - payersHouse committee votes to lift 2020 deadline on nuclear power tax credit  By  | September 23, 2016 

Dive Brief:

  • The House Ways and Means Committee has voted 23-9 on a bill to remove a 2020 deadline for a nuclear power plant tax credit, The Hill reports.
  • The credit, enacted in 2005, will likely benefit the Vogtle nuclear reactors being built by Southern Co. in Georgia and the Summer reactors being built by SCANA in South Carolina.
  • The bill would not change the 6,000-MW cap on the tax credit. Nuclear opponents called the bill a bailout for plant owners who have failed to deliver new reactor projects on time.

Dive Insight:

Nuclear plants are expensive to build — so expensive that until recently a nuclear plant had not entered construction for nearly 30 years. Notably the nuclear plants now under construction are all being done by regulated utilities, and they benefit from federal loans and tax credits.

That federal support is a key component for the financing of the projects, even if they are otherwise supported, ultimately, by ratepayers.

Both the Vogtle and Summer projects have been plagued by delays and cost overruns. The Vogtle units were originally due online in 2016 and 2017 and are now looking at a 2020 online date. The Summer reactors were originally due online in 2017 and are now slated for operation in 2019 and 2020.

If the revised timelines slip and the 2020 deadline on the tax credits remains, it could prove costly for the plant owners. The bill lifting the tax credit deadline would remove that risk.

“When Congress passed the 2005 act, it could not have contemplated the effort it would take to get a nuclear plant designed and licensed,” Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) told The Hill.

September 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

China wants its nuclear industry to grow dauntingly fast

 The Economist Sep 24th 2016 LIANYUNGANG   UPON learning (via a terse government statement) that their bustling port city in eastern China had been tipped as the likely site of a plant to recycle used nuclear fuel, residents of Lianyungang took to the streets last month in their thousands. Police, whose warnings against demonstrations were ignored, deployed with riot gear in large numbers but only scuffled with the protesters, who rallied, chanted and waved banners in the city centre for several days. “No one consulted us about this,” says one woman who participated in the protests. “We love our city. We have very little pollution and we don’t want a nuclear-fuel plant anywhere near us. The government says it is totally safe, but how can they be sure? How can we believe them?” she asks.Such scepticism is shared by many in Lianyungang, which already hosts a nuclear-power plant , and elsewhere in China, where the government plans to expand nuclear power massively.  ……

September 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics | Leave a comment

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016 (HTML) Fukushima and Chernobyl radiation effects explained

This year, special chapters on Chernobyl and Fukushima confirm that nuclear accidents bear not only significant human and environmental but also economic risks. These, however, are risks the nuclear industry has been sheltered from by political decisions limiting their liability.


The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016 (HTML)
by Tomas Kåberger [1]
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) is the best compilation of data, trends and facts about the nuclear industry available. This is all the more impressive considering the competition from resource-rich commercial or intergovernmental institutions. It is free from the political constraints, e. g. those leading the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the false claim there are more than 40 reactors operating in Japan. Nor does it suffer from the anti-nuclear exaggerations or pro-nuclear enthusiasm so often tainting descriptions of this industry’s status.

This year, special chapters on Chernobyl and Fukushima confirm that nuclear accidents bear not only significant human and environmental but also economic risks. These, however, are risks the nuclear industry has been sheltered from by political decisions limiting their liability.

The WNISR this year is more about a risk the industry will not easily be protected from: The economic and financial risks from nuclear power being irreversibly out-competed by renewable power.

The year 2015 seems to be the best year for the nuclear industry in the last quarter of a century. A record 10 new reactors with a total capacity of over 9 GW were put into operation. This was less than new solar and less than wind capacity, which increased five and six times as much respectively. In actual electricity produced, nuclear increased by 31 TWh, while fossil fuels based electricity generation decreased. The main reason why fossil fuels decreased was the expansion in renewable power generation, an increase of more than 250 TWh compared to 2014, seven times more than the modest nuclear increase.

The development of installations and generation is a result of renewable energy cost reductions. As we may also read in this report, nuclear construction is not only costly, it is often more costly, and requires more time, than envisioned when investment decisions were taken. Solar and wind, on the other hand, have come down in price to an extent that new wind and solar are often providing new generation that is clearly cheaper than new nuclear power.

Even more challenging to the nuclear industry is the way renewables are bringing down electricity prices in mature industrial countries to the extent that an increasing number of reactors operate with economic losses despite producing electricity as planned.

But a foreword is not meant to be another summary. My appreciation of the report is already clearly stated. Let me use the final paragraphs on what implications may follow from the facts laid out in this report:

First: A nuclear industry under economic stress may become an even more dangerous industry. Owners do what they can to reduce operating costs to avoid making economic loss. Reduce staff, reduce maintenance, and reduce any monitoring and inspection that may be avoided. While a stated ambition of “safety first” and demands of safety authorities will be heard, the conflict is always there and reduced margins of safety may prove to be mistakes.

Secondly: The economic losses of nuclear come as fossil fuel based electricity generation is also suffering under climate protection policies and competition from less costly renewable power. The incumbent power companies are often loosing net cash-flow as well as asset values. As a result, many power companies are downgraded by credit-rating agencies and their very existence threatened. Electric power companies’ ability to actually manage the back-end cost of the nuclear industry is increasingly uncertain. As the estimates of these costs become more important, and receive attention they tend to grow.

Reading the WNISR2016, a premonition appears of what may lay ahead of this industry and the 31 governments hosting it.

Let us hope WNISR will help many people understand the situation and contribute to responsible regulation and management of the industry in the critical period ahead of us.

Full report here;

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment