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Tepco Falls After President Highlights Fukushima Cost Risk

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Japan utility declines 3.3% to settle at lowest in two weeks

Company seeks government help to eliminate insolvency risk

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. closed at the lowest in more than two weeks after its president said it may face insolvency if it recognized at one time the cost of decommissioning the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant and that it’s asked the government to help eliminate the risk.

Tepco, as the company is better known, fell as much as 7.9 percent during intraday trading and closed 3.3 percent lower at 414 yen a share in Tokyo, the lowest since Sept. 16. The benchmark Topix index rose 0.6 percent.

As it becomes possible to estimate the Fukushima decommissioning cost, we will have the problem of recognizing the liability at once. That means there is a possibility Tepco becomes insolvent,” President Naomi Hirose told reporters in Tokyo Wednesday after meeting with a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry commission charged with reforming the company. “We are requesting institutional measures to remove such risk.”

As of June, nearly 1 trillion yen ($9.7 billion) has been allocated to decommissioning and water treatment at Fukushima, Tepco spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said last month.

The March 2011 nuclear accident and its fallout will ultimately cost more than 11 trillion yen, according to a study by Japanese college professors including Kenichi Oshima, a professor of economics at Ritsumeikan University.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-05/tepco-plummets-after-president-highlights-fukushima-cost-risk

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October 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco calls for government help to curb impact of rising Fukushima costs

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A worker puts up new logo of TEPCO Holdings and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Group on the wall ahead of the transition to a holding company system through a company split at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, March 31, 2016.

 

The operator of the nuclear power plant destroyed in the Fukushima disaster five years ago has asked Japan’s government for help in avoiding the risk of the utility going bankrupt should there be a sharp rise in the full estimated clean-up costs.

Tokyo Electric Power Co Holdings Inc didn’t specify what kind of help it was seeking, but people familiar with the matter said Japan’s biggest utility is looking for new rules to avoid having to book a huge loss in its accounts if it is estimated that there will be big cost overruns for decommissioning the power station.

“We don’t want to receive national rescue measures but want to bear the Fukushima responsibility ourselves,” Tepco president Naomi Hirose told a government panel, according the panel chief, Kunio Ito, a professor at Hitotsubashi University.

“For that reason, we would like to undertake steps for a further overhaul than we have had so far,” Hirose was quoted as saying.

In March 2011, one of the worst earthquakes in history triggered a 10-metre high tsunami that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, causing the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 30 years ago. Meltdowns in three reactors released radiation over a wide area, contaminating water, food and air, and forcing more than 160,000 people to evacuate.

Dismantling the reactors is expected to take about 40 years, but even five and a half years on, Tepco still struggles to contain radioactive water from the plant and has said it can’t predict the eventual total costs of the clean-up and decommissioning.

After the panel meeting on Tepco reform and the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Hirose told reporters that it was difficult to accurately predict the costs of even a gradual decommissioning of the crippled reactors, said a spokeswoman for the utility, which generates about a third of the country’s electricity.

“If the issue of recognising all the estimated losses at once were to emerge, our company would fail, so we would like some structural assistance from the government to be able to avoid that risk,” Hirose said.

Tepco wants the government to consider introducing rules to avoid having to book a single huge exceptional loss as soon as cost estimates for decommissioning become clearer, said a person familiar with the situation.

Cost estimates could shoot up when the company and the government, which owns 50.1 percent of Tepco, decide on how to extract fuel debris at the plant in 2018 or 2019, said a person with direct knowledge of discussions on restructuring Tepco.

A government official familiar with the deliberations said, “In the event that Tepco can’t shoulder the burden, it will mean changing the fiscal-support system.” As it’s hard to imagine the government letting the company go bust, “in the end it will have to be a matter of either shouldering the burden with public funds or responding by raising electricity prices.”

The Mainichi newspaper said on Wednesday that Japan’s utilities lobby expects clean-up and compensation costs from the Fukushima disaster to overshoot previous estimates by 8.1 trillion yen (£62 billion).

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan has informally asked the government to shoulder the extra cost, the newspaper said.

However, a federation spokesman said the group has not asked the government to shoulder any extra costs and the Mainichi estimates were not correct.

The new government panel also agreed that management reform at Tepco was necessary at its first meeting earlier in the day, panel chief Ito said.

Shares in Tepco ended down 3.3 percent after falling as much as 7.9 percent on Hirose’s remarks, which were initially interpreted as a plea for additional financial aid.

“The stock market seems to have reacted to the headline that it could become insolvent,” said a credit analyst at a Japanese brokerage. “But in reality, the president has just said what’s been known, that they need an accounting system that allows them to write off the cost of decommissioning gradually because posting the cost all at once could make it insolvent.”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-tepco-outlook-idUKKCN1250JT

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear regulator caves to industry interests yet again–Gives nearly 40 year old reactor a green light before the aging safety review even completed

5 October 2016, Tokyo – Today, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has again exposed itself as industry-captured by giving the Mihama 3 reactor owned by Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) a green light under post-Fukushima guidelines — clearing the way for restart — even before the regulator has completed its ageing-related safety review. The safety risks of age-related degradation can be enormous.

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The Mihama 3 reactor is like a vintage 1976 car that’s been driven at top speed for nearly 4 decades — and then sat idle for more than 5 years. Major safety components wear out, designs become outdated, and extended disuse creates yet another set of safety problems. Worse, it’s already been in a major accident 12 years ago due to a high-pressure pipe rupture that killed 5 workers. Most people wouldn’t just load up the kids in a car like that and speed off on a road trip. Yet, KEPCO and the NRA are trying to do just that, and they haven’t finished looking under the hood to see if the engine is alright. Unlike old cars, if an old reactor has a major accident, the victims can number in the hundreds of thousands and the crash site can extend for hundreds of kilometers. It’s nothing short of reckless, and puts the lives and livelihoods of families throughout the region at unnecessary risk,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Global Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Japan.

Nuclear power plants are enormously complex, and safety-related components are only subject to normal age-related degradation. Constant irradiation of major components embrittles the metal, leading to an increased likelihood of potentially catastrophic failure during operation or emergency shutdown.

The Mihama 3 reactor is also located in the seismically-active Wakasa Bay region. The deep concerns over inadequate seismic assessments for the KEPCO’s Ohi reactors – also located in Wakasa Bay – pushed former NRA commissioner and seismologist, Kunihiko Shimazaki, to challenge the regulator directly. Although the NRA dismissed his concerns, the agency admitted that they could not reproduce the figures submitted by KEPCO in their assessment and so could not independently verify their accuracy. The same potentially faulty seismic assessment method was applied to Mihama 3. 

The restart of aging reactors in Fukui has caused concern in surrounding prefectures. On 23 August, the Kyoto Governor Keiji Yamada said of the potential restart of the Takahama 1&2 reactors, “ . . .we should be extremely wary when it comes to aging nuclear reactors.”(1)

The restart of Mihama 3 is currently being challenged in court as a part of an umbrella lawsuit against all Fukui reactors. Greenpeace staff are plaintiffs in a case against KEPCO’s aging Takahama 1 & 2 reactors, also in Wakasa Bay.

Notes:

  1. Kyoto governor doesn’t accept Takahama 1, 2 reactor restart(京都府知事、容認せぬ姿勢 高浜原発1・2号機) Kyoto Newspaper on 23 August 2016 (accessed on 4 October 2016) 
  2. Tomorrow, 6 October 2016, the Sendai 1 reactor in Kagoshima will be taken offline for scheduled maintenance. The newly-elected Kagoshima governor has repeatedly demanded the Sendai reactors be shut down for further safety checks. Due to his ongoing opposition to the operation of the reactors, it is unlikely that Sendai 1 will restart again before the end of 2016. 

http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/ja/news/press/2016/pr201610051/

NRA grants aging Mihama reactor 20-year extension

OSAKA – The Nuclear Regulation Authority gave a green light Wednesday to extending the life of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s 40-year-old Mihama No. 3 reactor in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, by 20 years.

The ruling was certain to provoke questions in Kansai and elsewhere about whether the NRA is lax on safety concerns.

Safety work related to the extension still needs to be carried out and is expected to take years to complete. Kepco hopes to restart the reactor sometime after the summer of 2020.

Wednesday’s decision marks the second time the NRA has approved extending the life of a 40-year-old reactor to 60. It previously approved restarting Kepco’s Takahama No. 1 and 2 reactors, which are 42 and 41 years old, respectively.

Under new guidelines adopted after the Fukushima triple meltdown in 2011, operators must decide whether to decommission units or apply to the NRA for a one-time, two-decade-maximum extension once a plant becomes 40 years old.

Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa and neighboring Shiga and Kyoto prefectures have expressed safety concerns over reactors that are more than 40 years old and questioned the necessity of restarting old reactors.

Obtaining local political consent for a restart could thus prove tougher for Kepco than might be the case for a younger reactor. Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada has already expressed wariness over the decision to restart the Takahama No. 1 and 2 reactors.

Citizens’ groups in and around Mihama are also expected to seek temporary injunctions in local district courts to halt the restart, which could mean a further delay in plans to turn it back on.

Greenpeace Japan criticized Wednesday’s decision. In a statement, Senior Global Energy Campaigner Kendra Ulrich said Mihama No. 3 was like a vintage 1976 car that was driven for four decades but has sat idle for more than five years, and that restarting it now puts the lives of people in the Kansai region at risk.

Major safety components wear out, designs become outdated, and extended disuse creates yet another set of safety problems,” Ulrich said. “Worse, there was a major accident 12 years ago due to a high-pressure pipe rupture that killed five workers.”

Currently, five reactors that are more than 40 years old and one that is 39 years old are to be scrapped over the coming decades, including Kepco’s Mihama No. 1 and 2 reactors.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/05/national/nra-grants-aging-mihama-reactor-20-year-extension/#.V_UlRSTKO-e

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Record-breaking typhoon moves northeast to northern Japan

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Typhoon No. 18, packing record-setting winds, was creeping northeast and is expected to hit the Hokuriku and Tohoku regions starting on the afternoon of Oct. 5.

Known as Typhoon Chaba outside Japan, the storm was 120 kilometers north of Tsushima island and moving at a speed of 45 kph as of noon. It could make landfall later in the day or early on Oct. 6.

Wide areas of western and eastern Japan are expected to see heavy rain through Oct. 5. Some areas could be drenched with more than 50 millimeters of rain per hour.

Expected rainfall in the 24 hours until the morning of Oct. 6 is 200 mm on Shikoku island and in the Kinki region, 180 mm in northern Kyushu, and 150 mm in southern Kyushu as well as the Tokai, Hokuriku and Kanto-Koshin regions.

The typhoon cut through waters west of the Okinawa island chain and headed north on Oct. 4.

In the early hours of that day, a maximum wind speed of 173.2 kph was recorded on Kumejima, an island west of the main Okinawa island.

It was the strongest wind recorded on the island since official typhoon observations began in 1951.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610050028.html

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

77.2 Billion Dollars in Public Funds Sought for Post-Fukushima Disaster Costs

They were telling us that nuclear energy was safe and cheap….

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8 trillion yen in public funds sought for post-Fukushima disaster costs

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) has informally asked the government to inject some 8 trillion yen in public funds into efforts for nuclear damage compensation and decontamination work in areas around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it has been learned.

The FEPC has drawn up a report stating that an extra 8 trillion yen is estimated to be necessary even after Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and other major utilities shoulder the planned amount of costs for dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, and has informally requested that the government foot the surplus amount. The government has heretofore taken the position that nuclear plant operators should bear the costs for nuclear damage compensation and decontamination work in principle. It is therefore expected to approach the request with caution.

The costs for Fukushima disaster damage compensation and decontamination work are funded under the following steps: the state issues cashable government compensation bonds to the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF), a government-authorized corporation; TEPCO then receives necessary funds from the NDF and spends them on nuclear damage compensation and decontamination work; the NDF then receives due contributions from TEPCO and other major utilities and pays back the funds to the state.

Among the contributions made by power companies to the NDF, funds for nuclear damage compensation are shouldered by TEPCO and other major utilities, and the funds for decontamination work are covered by profits on the sale of TEPCO shares held by the NDF, while the funds for building interim storage facilities for radioactive waste are covered by revenues from the tax on the promotion of power resources development.

In 2013, the government estimated that nuclear damage compensation would cost 5.4 trillion yen, while decontamination work would require 2.5 trillion yen and construction costs for temporary storage facilities for radioactive waste and other expenses would need 1.1 trillion yen. The total amounts to be granted to the NDF were estimated at a maximum 9 trillion yen.

However, the FEPC now forecasts that damage compensation would cost 2.6 trillion yen more at 8 trillion yen and the decontamination expenses 4.5 trillion yen more at 7 trillion yen, according to sources familiar with the matter. Furthermore, the FEPC forecasts that profits on the sale of TEPCO shares would be 1 trillion yen less than the initial estimate due to a fall in the stock prices, bringing the total fund shortages to 8.1 trillion yen.

Major utilities fear that they would ultimately be forced to shoulder the additional burden as the enormous costs for decontamination work cannot be covered by profits on the sale of TEPCO shares.

The FEPC has unofficially asked that the government foot the extra amount of costs necessary for nuclear damage compensation and decontamination work on the grounds that the business environment for major utilities has deteriorated amid the stalled reactivation of nuclear reactors that have been left idle since the Fukushima disaster and the intensifying competition among power companies following the liberalization of the electricity retail market this past spring.

While TEPCO has forked out 2 trillion yen for the decommissioning of disaster-stricken reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, several trillion yen extra is projected to be necessary to cover the expenses. In July, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. asked for government assistance in covering the expenses for reactor decommissioning at the plant and other efforts. The FEPC’s recent request to the government, meanwhile, does not include financial assistance for reactor decommissioning.

The government is poised to discuss the costs for Fukushima disaster damage compensation and reactor decommissioning at a panel on TEPCO reform and Fukushima No. 1 plant issues to be convened on Oct. 5, where the FEPC’s request is likely to be deliberated on.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161004/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Neither Trump nor Clinton give a clear answer on pre-emptive nuclear strike policy

apocalypseUSA election 2016On Nuclear Policy, Trump and Clinton Agree: Armageddon Is an Option

While you were up watching reruns of Seinfeld, the first presidential debate turned into Dr. Strangelove. The Nation , By Andrew J. Bacevich, 5 Oct 16,

October 5, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Diplomacy Is Over As Russia and The U.S. Face Off

U.S.-Russia Ties Crumble Under Weight of Syria, Nuclear Pact, Bloomberg      , 4 Oct 16 

October 5, 2016 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

With a list of grievances, Putin suspends nuclear pact with USA

Putin suspends nuclear pact, raising stakes in row with Washington http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/04/putin-suspends-nuclear-pact-raising-stakes-in-row-with-washington.html 

 Starting in the last years of the Cold War, Russia and the United States signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals, agreements that have so far survived intact despite a souring of U.S.-Russian relations under Putin.

But on Monday, Putin issued a decree suspending an agreement, concluded in 2000, which bound the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin said it was taking that action in response to unfriendly acts by Washington. It made the announcement shortly before Washington said it was suspending talks with Russia on trying to end the violence in Syria.

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post-Cold War U.S.-Russia disarmament, and the practical implications from the suspension will be limited. But the suspension, and the linkage to disagreements on other issues, carries powerful symbolism.

“Putin’s decree could signal that other nuclear disarmament cooperation deals between the United States and Russia are at risk of being undermined,” Stratfor, a U.S.-based consultancy, said in a commentary.

“The decision is likely an attempt to convey to Washington the price of cutting off dialogue on Syria and other issues.”

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Monday that bilateral contacts with Moscow over Syria were being suspended. Kirby said Russia had failed to live up to its commitments under a ceasefire agreement.

Western diplomats say an end to the Syria talks leaves Moscow free to pursue its military operation in support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, but without a way to disentangle itself from a conflict which shows no sign of ending.

Russia and the United States are also at loggerheads over Ukraine. Washington, along with Europe, imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and backed pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

List of grievances

Putin submitted a draft law to parliament setting out under what conditions work under the plutonium accord could be resumed. Those conditions were a laundry list of Russian grievances towards the United States.

They included Washington lifting the sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, paying compensation to Moscow for the sanctions, and reducing the U.S. military presence in NATO member state in eastern Europe to the levels they were 16 years ago.

Any of those steps would involve a complete U-turn in long-standing U.S. policy.

“The Obama administration has done everything in its power to destroy the atmosphere of trust which could have encouraged cooperation,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on the treaty’s suspension.

“The step Russia has been forced to take is not intended to worsen relations with the United States. We want Washington to understand that you cannot, with one hand, introduce sanctions against us where it can be done fairly painlessly for the Americans, and with the other hand continue selective cooperation in areas where it suits them.”

The 2010 agreement, signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called on each side to dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium by burning it in nuclear reactors.

Clinton said at the time that there was enough of the material to make almost 17,000 nuclear weapons. Both sides back then viewed the deal as a sign of increased cooperation between the two former Cold War adversaries.

Russian officials alleged on Monday that Washington had failed to honor its side of the agreement. The Kremlin decree stated that, despite the suspension, Russia’s surplus weapons-grade plutonium would not be put to military use.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Irish Security Services leak truths to the UK Press. And nuclear-news and others are banned in Ireland #UNCHR

censorshipCensored! This article is generally off topic for this blog but this article and nuclear-news.net post have been blocked from Google Search in Europe (and possibly further afield). Ireland based blogs and nuclear-news.net based in Australia are affected as far as I can ascertain. Also, Shannonwatch.org (An Irish peace group) have tried to get out a press release stating problems they are having in the Limerick area and this too has been banned! Could you share directly to any Irish people you know these banned articles.

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Sellafield are having a meeting with Irish Stakeholders who have doubts as to the safety and transparency of the UK nuclear industry. This meeting is in the next week or so and it is vital that people are aware of alleged criminality to Parliament by Sellafield representatives. Many thanks for your support  –

Evidence for the blocking and hacking over a few days can be found here;

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685379936

Shaun McGee aka Arclight

Sellafield – Contempt of Parliament – BBC News missed it.

 

Irish Security Services leak truths to the UK Press.

A recent article by The Sunday Times UK edition stated that the Irish Security Services (Likely the Irish Defense Force) have claimed that Gardai (Police ) in Athlone had been facilitating the distribution of heroin to local towns.

https://europeannewsweekly.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/irish-security-services-leak-truths-to-the-uk-press/

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Picture Source http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/wpoc-young-people

Due to Irish Laws the name of the whistle-blower has not been reported in Ireland but was on the Sunday Times UK edition on Sunday the 2nd of October 2016.

Why are the Irish “Security Services” leaking this fact to the UK Press? So, as to allow Irish readers the option of reading this article we will not name the brave whistle-blower who leaked the criminality in 2014 but it can be found on the Sunday Times article link ..

This is what the “Security Services were quoted as saying in the article;

“…Security sources say collusion between gardai and heroin dealers in the midlands town has been a significant factor in the area’s worsening drugs problem. The region has a growing population of heroin users and the town is now considered to be a pivotal point in the distribution of opiates to addicts in Longford, Westmeath, Offaly and Laois…..”

Earlier in the article the Times quotes also the “Security Sources” thus;

“…..According to security sources, the internal inquiry concluded that one Garda was in a relationship with a female heroin dealer in the town, which resulted in him compromising planned searches and raids. One witness told investigators he was present when this Garda alerted local criminals to a planned Gardai search the following day, ensuring they had time to dispose of incriminating evidence, including mobile phones. The witness refused to make a statement under caution or agree to testify, however…..”

It might be noted that a government report said that in 2014 the Irish Defense Force did not apply for any orders for surveillance on criminals. We here at Euroupeannewsweekly have been asking the question;

Who is doing surveillance now in Ireland? In 2014 a Gardai and Security Services operation against a dissident IRA group ended with a successful arrest of the whole group at a remote farmhouse, to name but one crime that was widely reported and would have required constant surveillance tactics.

Is there a connection between the ending of the use of the Security Services (or end any of transparency in Government reports) and the evidence that they were holding for the investigation?

We can not claim these last points to be fact, they are only questions posed because of the Irish Security Services leak to the UK. We can present the basic facts to you and let you make up your own minds though.

So what is at stake here? We know for a fact that the Irish Security Services are not happy and have released this information to the nearly 10 million Irish Diaspora in the UK but no publication has reported any of this in Ireland. Yet it is important for the real victims of this criminality that these facts become known and that some in the Government are not happy with this current situation. The security services were tapping all the phones and know all the connections of these criminal gangs and their enablers.

Here is a statement from a local ex Heroin user from Longford on the desperate situation that exists in this region and what funding opportunities for the proven victims of this criminality;

Continue reading

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Arclight's Vision, EUROPE, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 4 Comments

5 October – an anniversary reminder of the nuclear industry’s poor record, and poor future

the real problem is that the nuclear industry lost its credibility almost at its inception, and has never recovered. It was hastily launched, endowed with the sort of government indulgence that breeds sloppiness, and has tried to conceal its faults through secrecy and legal bluster

GIL SCOTT HERON – WE ALMOST LOST DETROIT

 

50 years after ‘we almost lost Detroit,’ America’s nuclear power industry faces even graver doubts, LA Times, 5 Oct 16   Michael Hiltzik Contact Reporter  The history of nuclear power in the United States has been marked by numerous milestones, many of them bad — accidents, construction snafus, engineering incompetence, etc., etc. One anniversary of an incident that has cast a long shadow over the nuclear power industry’s claim for safety will be marked this week. On Oct. 5, 1966 — that’s 50 years ago Wednesday — Detroit Edison’s Fermi-1 nuclear plant suffered a partial meltdown, caused by a piece of floating shrapnel inside the container vessel.

One anniversary of an incident that has cast a long shadow over the nuclear power industry’s claim for safety will be marked this week. On Oct. 5, 1966 — that’s 50 years ago Wednesday — Detroit Edison’s Fermi-1 nuclear plant suffered a partial meltdown, caused by a piece of floating shrapnel inside the container vessel. Continue reading

October 5, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, history, incidents | Leave a comment

Federal compensation wanted by town of Rowe, for hosting stranded nuclear wastes

Rowe Board of Selectmen chair Marilyn Wilson said the town over the summer heard from Illinois Republican Rep. Robert J. Dold concerning a bill that would help towns that host a “stranded spent nuclear fuel storage site.”

A plainclothes guard with an assault-style rifle stood at the front gate. Reporters were told to point their cameras away from the facility.

text-relevantRowe seeks federal compensation for hosting nuclear waste at former atomic power plant  http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/10/rowe_seeks_federal_compensatio.html ROWE — Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station shut down in 1992, and was demolished and decommissioned by 2007, but the fenced and isolated site on the upper Deerfield River still hosts 127 tons of spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste in 16 concrete casks under 24-hour security.

The tiny town of Rowe is one of about a dozen communities nationwide affected by the presence of nuclear waste, but no longer benefiting economically from the presence of a functioning reactor.

waste casks Vermont

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and state Sen. Paul Mark (D-Peru) toured the site as guests of the Rowe Board of Selectmen. Mark is a member of the Yankee Rowe Spent Fuel Storage & Removal Citizens Advisory Committee. Neal, who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District, assured local officials that he supports bipartisan legislation in Washington that would compensate communities that are forced to store nuclear waste.

The “Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Compensation Act” would seek up to $100 million for 13 towns ranging from Zion, Illinois to Wiscasset, Maine.

“The federal government is obligated to provide mitigation costs to communities such as Rowe, considering that the Department of Energy failed to remove the waste as promised,” said Neal, a Democrat.

It was never the intention of the federal government for small towns such as Rowe to host spent fuel rods forever.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 directed the U.S. Department of Energy to take ownership of the nation’s nuclear waste. The plan was to build a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but the facility was never built. Capping decades of gridlock, the Obama administration withdrew support for the plan in 2011.

Various nuclear plant owners, who over the years paid into a Department of Energy Fund to handle their waste, repeatedly sued the government over the broken promise, and dozens of settlements to date have cost taxpayers a combined $4 billion.

Rowe Board of Selectmen chair Marilyn Wilson said the town over the summer heard from Illinois Republican Rep. Robert J. Dold concerning a bill that would help towns that host a “stranded spent nuclear fuel storage site.” She said the proposed bill recognizes that such communities have become de facto interim nuclear waste sites.

Wilson said when Yankee Rowe was fully operational, the company paid for the town’s police, fire, and emergency response budgets, on top of paying substantial property taxes. Now taxes are diminished and public safety expenses are borne by local taxpayers. The town continues to bear other plant-related costs, she said.

Event without the nuke, Rowe enjoys a solid tax base thanks to several hydro-electric facilities on the Deerfield River. With a population of 358, its own elementary school, and hundreds of acres of conservation land, the residential tax rate remains at $6.03 per thousand valuation. The commercial and industrial tax rate stands at $13.31. The tax history of the Yankee Rowe plant was not immediately available. The company owns more than 1,700 acres.

Members of the press, initially invited by Neal’s office to attend Monday’s tour, were blocked from attending by plant officials, who cited security reasons. A plainclothes guard with an assault-style rifle stood at the front gate. Reporters were told to point their cameras away from the facility.

Robert Capstick, a spokesman for Yankee Rowe, said he is as eager as town officials to see a solution. The company spends millions every year to host the waste that the government failed to remove, he said. In New England, other plants with stranded waste are Maine Yankee, Vermont Yankee, and Connecticut Yankee.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy is considering privately-owned interim storage to overcome the impasse in Congress over authorizing a  permanent site. Waste Control Specialists proposes an interim facility for 40,000 tons of nuclear waste in West Texas. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said siting of interim facilities would be done under a “consent-based” model.

Moniz still acknowledges the need for an permanent, underground geological repository. About 2,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel is created every year.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fast nuclear reactors might be hyped up, but their future looks gloomy

Nuclear: The slow death of fast reactors Jim Green, 5 Oct 2016, RenewEconomy,http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/nuclear-the-slow-death-of-fast-reactors-21046

Generation IV ‘fast breeder’ reactors have long been promoted by nuclear enthusiasts, writes Jim Green, but Japan’s decision to abandon the Monju fast reactor is another nail in the coffin for this failed technology.

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Fast neutron reactors are “poised to become mainstream” according to the World Nuclear Association. The Association lists eight “current” fast reactors although three of them are not operating. That leaves just five fast reactors ‒ three of them experimental.

Fast reactors aren’t becoming mainstream. One after another country has abandoned the technology. Nuclear physicist Thomas Cochransummarises the history: “Fast reactor development programs failed in the: 1) United States; 2) France; 3) United Kingdom; 4) Germany; 5) Japan; 6) Italy; 7) Soviet Union/Russia 8) U.S. Navy and 9) the Soviet Navy. The program in India is showing no signs of success and the program in China is only at a very early stage of development.”

The latest setback was the decision of the Japanese government at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on September 21 to abandon plans to restart the Monju fast breeder reactor.

Monju reached criticality in 1994 but was shut down in December 1995 after a sodium coolant leak and fire. The reactor didn’t restart until May 2010, and it was shut down again three months later after a fuel handling machine was accidentally dropped in the reactor during a refuelling outage. In November 2012, it was revealed that Japan Atomic Energy Agency had failed to conduct regular inspections of almost 10,000 out of a total 39,000 pieces of equipment at Monju, including safety-critical equipment.

In November 2015, the Nuclear Regulation Authority declared that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency was “not qualified as an entity to safely operate” Monju. Education minister Hirokazu Matsuno said on 21 September 2016 that attempts to find an alternative operator have been unsuccessful.

The government has already spent 1.2 trillion yen (US$12bn) on Monju. The government calculated that it would cost another 600 billion yen (US$6bn) to restart Monju and keep it operating for another 10 years.

Decommissioning also has a hefty price-tag ‒ far more than for conventional light-water reactors. According to a 2012estimate by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, decommissioning Monju will cost an estimated 300 billion yen (US$3bn).

India’s failed fast reactor program   India’s fast reactor program has been a failure. The budget for the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) was approved in 1971 but the reactor was delayed repeatedly, attaining first criticality in 1985. It took until 1997 for the FBTR to start supplying a small amount of electricity to the grid. The FBTR’s operations have been marred by several accidents.

Preliminary design work for a larger Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) began in 1985, expenditures on the reactor began in 1987/88 and construction began in 2004 ‒ but the reactor still hasn’t started up. Construction has taken more than twice the expected period. In July 2016, the Indian government announced yet another delay, and there is scepticism that the scheduled start-up in March 2017 will be realised. The PFBR’s cost estimate has gone up by 62%.

India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has for decades projected the construction of hundreds of fast reactors ‒ for example a 2004 DAE document projected 262.5 gigawatts (GW) of fast reactor capacity by 2050. But India has a track record of making absurd projections for both fast reactors and light-water reactors ‒ and failing to meet those targets by orders of magnitude.

Academic M.V. Ramana writes: “Breeder reactors have always underpinned the DAE’s claims about generating large quantities of electricity. Today, more than six decades after the grand plans for growth were first announced, that promise is yet to be fulfilled. The latest announcement about the delay in the PFBR is yet another reminder that breeder reactors in India, like elsewhere, are best regarded as a failed technology and that it is time to give up on them.”

Russia’s snail-paced program  Russia’s fast reactor program is the only one that could be described as anything other than an abject failure. But it hasn’t been a roaring success either.

Three fast reactors are in operation in Russia ‒ BOR-60 (start-up in 1969), BN-600 (1980) and BN-800 (2014). There have been 27sodium leaks in the BN-600 reactor, five of them in systems with radioactive sodium, and 14 leaks were accompanied by burning of sodium.

The Russian government published a decree in August 2016 outlining plans to build 11 new reactors over the next 14 years. Of the 11 proposed new reactors, three are fast reactors: BREST-300 near Tomsk in Siberia, and two BN-1200 fast reactors near Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, near the Ural mountains. However, like India, the Russian government has a track record of projecting rapid and substantial nuclear power expansion ‒ and failing miserably to meet the targets.

As Vladimir Slivyak recently noted in Nuclear Monitor: “While Russian plans looks big on paper, it’s unlikely that this program will be implemented. It’s very likely that the current economic crisis, the deepest in history since the USSR collapsed, will axe the most of new reactors.”

While the August 2016 decree signals new interest in reviving the BN-1200 reactor project, it was indefinitely suspended in 2014, with Rosatom citing the need to improve fuel for the reactor and amid speculation about the cost-effectiveness of the project.

In 2014, Rosenergoatom spokesperson Andrey Timonov said the BN-800 reactor, which started up in 2014, “must answer questions about the economic viability of potential fast reactors because at the moment ‘fast’ technology essentially loses this indicator [when compared with] commercial VVER units.”

 

China’s program going nowhere fast   Australian nuclear lobbyist Geoff Russell cites the World Nuclear Association(WNA) in support of his claim that China expect fast reactors “to be dominating the market by about 2030 and they’ll be mass produced.”

Does the WNA paper support the claim? Not at all. China has a 20 MWe experimental fast reactor, which operated for a total of less than one month in the 63 months from criticality in July 2010 to October 2015. For every hour the reactor operated in 2015, it was offline for five hours, and there were three recorded reactor trips.

China also has plans to build a 600 MWe ‘Demonstration Fast Reactor’ and then a 1,000 MWe commercial-scale fast reactor. Whether those reactors will be built remains uncertain ‒ the projects have not been approved ‒ and it would be another giant leap from a single commercial-scale fast reactor to a fleet of them.

According to the WNA, a decision to proceed with or cancel the 1,000 MWe fast reactor will not be made until 2020, and if it proceeds, construction could begin in 2028 and operation could begin in about 2034.

So China might have one commercial-scale fast reactor by 2034 ‒ but probably won’t. Russell’s claim that fast reactors will be “dominating the market by about 2030” is unbridled jiggery-pokery.

According to the WNA, China envisages 40 GW of fast reactor capacity by 2050. A far more likely scenario is that China will have 0 GW of fast reactor capacity by 2050. And even if the 40 GW target was reached, it would still only represent aroundone-sixth of total nuclear capacity in China in 2050 ‒ fast reactors still wouldn’t be “dominating the market” even if capacity grows by orders of magnitude from 0.02 GW (the experimental reactor that is usually offline) to 40 GW.

 Travelling-waves and the non-existent ‘integral fast reactor’

Perhaps the travelling-wave fast reactor popularised by Bill Gates will come to the rescue? Or perhaps not. According to theWNA, China General Nuclear Power and Xiamen University are reported to be cooperating on R&D, but the Ministry of Science and Technology, China National Nuclear Corporation, and the State Nuclear Power Technology Company are all skeptical of the travelling-wave reactor concept.

Perhaps the ‘integral fast reactor’ (IFR) championed by James Hansen will come to the rescue? Or perhaps not. The UK and US governments have been considering building IFRs (specifically GE Hitachi’s ‘PRISM’ design) for plutonium disposition ‒ but it is almost certain that both countries will choose different methods to manage plutonium stockpiles.

In South Australia, nuclear lobbyists united behind a push for IFRs/PRISMs, and they would have expected to persuade a stridently pro-nuclear Royal Commission to endorse their ideas. But the Royal Commission completely rejected the proposal, noting in its May 2016report that advanced fast reactors are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the foreseeable future; that the development of such a first-of-a-kind project would have high commercial and technical risk; that there is no licensed, commercially proven design and development to that point would require substantial capital investment; and that electricity generated from such reactors has not been demonstrated to be cost competitive with current light water reactor designs.

A future for fast reactors?

Just 400 reactor-years of worldwide experience have been gained with fast reactors. There is 42 times more experience with conventional reactors (16,850 reactor-years). And most of the experience with fast reactors suggests they are more trouble than they are worth.

Apart from the countries mentioned above, there is very little interest in pursuing fast reactor technology. Germany, the UK and the UScancelled their prototype breeder reactor programs in the 1980s and 1990s.

France is considering building a fast reactor (ASTRID) despite the country’s unhappy experience with the Phénix and Superphénix reactors. But a decision on whether to construct ASTRID will not be made until 2019/20.

The performance of the Superphénix reactor was as dismal as Monju. Superphénix was meant to be the world’s first commercial fast reactor but in the 13 years of its miserable existence it rarely operated ‒ its ‘Energy Unavailability Factor’ was 90.8% according to the IAEA. Note that the fast reactor lobbyists complain about the intermittency of wind and solar!

A 2010 article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists summarised the worldwide failure of fast reactor technology: “After six decades and the expenditure of the equivalent of about $100 billion, the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled. … The breeder reactor dream is not dead, but it has receded far into the future. In the 1970s, breeder advocates were predicting that the world would have thousands of breeder reactors operating this decade. Today, they are predicting commercialization by approximately 2050.”

Allison MacFarlane, former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, recently made this sarcastic assessment of fast reactor technology: “These turn out to be very expensive technologies to build. Many countries have tried over and over. What is truly impressive is that these many governments continue to fund a demonstrably failed technology.”

While fast reactors face a bleak future, the rhetoric will persist. Australian academic Barry Brook wrote a puff-piece about fast reactors for the Murdoch press in 2009. On the same day he said on his website that “although it’s not made abundantly clear in the article”, he expects conventional reactors to play the major role for the next two to three decades but chose to emphasise fast reactors “to try to hook the fresh fish”.

So that’s the nuclear lobbyists’ game plan − making overblown claims about fast reactors and other Generation IV reactor concepts, pretending that they are near-term prospects, and being less than “abundantly clear” about the truth.

Dr Jim Green is the national anti-nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter published by the World Information Service on Energy.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, reprocessing | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear industry at stalemate, because of its stranded wastes

text-relevantCompanies may ease nuclear waste backlog, news.com.au, OCTOBER 4, 2016, Timothy Gardner. Reuters “…… The waste is now mostly held at power plants in dry cask storage or in spent fuel pools, said Moniz, a nuclear physicist who has run the department since 2013.

The US could start transferring that waste to interim sites, potentially including government and privatestranded
disposal sites, in the middle of the next decade until a permanent solution is developed.

“We would like to have the authority for publicly owned and operated (storage) facilities. We are also very much interested in the possibility of pursuing private storage,” Moniz said in an interview about the nuclear issues the next administration will face after President Barack Obama leaves office….

some of his [Obama’s]  fellow Democrats have reservations about moving ahead with nuclear, which faces competition from natural gas, until the waste problem is solved.

Senator Diane Feinstein told Moniz at a recent congressional hearing she would not support new nuclear power projects unless the issue is dealt with.
Moniz said if companies take over storage, Congress will still need to act…….

Another thorny issue on nuclear waste has been an agreement with Russia to convert plutonium left over from the Cold War to nuclear plant fuel. Under the deal struck in 2000, each country is expected to convert 34 tons of the material into fuel pellets.

The federal government has spent about $US5 billion on a plant in South Carolina and associated facilities that would convert the material into MOX, or mixed-oxide pellets for reactors. But cost estimates for the project have soared, and now Moniz says the MOX method would cost up to $US50 billion over 50 years.

He wants the country to consider simply diluting the plutonium with inert materials and disposing the mix deep underground, such has been done for other nuclear materials in New Mexico…….

With many hurdles ahead on nuclear issues, speculation has grown on whether Moniz would remain in his role as energy secretary in the next administration…. http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/breaking-news/companies-may-ease-nuclear-waste-backlog/news-story/3b3077239e9b528a15fd453ea533d32a

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thinking about limiting greenhouse emissions to 1.5C limit, and ‘negative emissions’

How to Think About 1.5 Degrees  https://theconversation.com/how-to-think-about-1-5-degrees-66412  Professor of Public Ethics, Centre For Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics (CAPPE), Charles Sturt University  October 3, 2016  Astonishment was universal last December when the Paris Agreement on climate change included the aspiration to limit warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, a much tougher target than the standard of 2 degrees, now seen as too risky.

It was a remarkable triumph for a long campaign by the small island states, proving that even tiny nations, armed with a powerful moral case, can change the world.

But what does a global aim of 1.5 degrees mean? Is it achievable? How much difference would it make? A conference at the University of Oxford two weeks ago brought together leading scientists to begin to answer these questions.

No one can give firm answers, but some surprising observations emerged at the conference. One thing is clear: given the vast quantity of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, with more still to come, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees will require ‘negative emissions’.

Negative emissions technologies aim to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it safely. Some proposed technologies include machines that extract carbon dioxide from the air, concentrate it and then somehow (the answers are vague) store it. At a scale to make a significant difference, a huge infrastructure of carbon-sucking machines, concentrating equipment and pipelines would need to be built.

The most commonly mentioned method of negative emissions entails generating electricity by burning biomass – mainly crop waste, wood waste, and crops grown for the purpose – capturing the carbon dioxide from the emissions and storing them underground.

It’s estimated that to make a substantial difference to global warming huge expanses of land would have to be given over to growing biomass crops. This risks depriving poor people of food crops and destroying ecosystems as swathes of land are converted to growing biomass for energy.

So here is the first troubling prospect. Although warming of only 1.5 degrees would result in much less harm to the climate than 2 degrees, it’s possible that the ecological damage caused by the negative emissions projects needed to get there may exceed the benefits, at least for some. The ecosystem costs of the emission reduction pathways may outweigh the benefits of lower warming.

So while the overall goal of climate negotiations is to avoid ‘dangerous climate change’, perhaps it needs to be changed so that the goal becomes to ‘minimize dangerous change to the Earth System as a whole’, a dramatic shift in how we think about the issue.

It must begin soon

For a 1.5-degree goal, large-scale negative emissions activity would need to begin soon, before 2030, and expand rapidly, so that by 2050 or sooner the amount of carbon sucked out of the atmosphere would have to exceed the amount emitted into it from fossil fuel burning.

No one is confident it can be done. Some suggest that when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has included negative emissions in its future emissions scenarios it is not much more than a ‘fudge factor’ to make the 2 degrees limit seem possible.

Apart from the cost, the biggest obstacle to negative emissions technologies is what to do with the captured carbon. Although it’s fairly easy to extract carbon dioxide from the air, no one has yet come up with a feasible and economic way of storing billions of tonnes of it. It must be done safely and it must stay there for thousands of years, without leaking out.

Some years ago governments became excited at the idea of pumping it into geological formations, but pilot projects around the world have been abandoned because they ran into technical problems and cost blowouts. Now it’s thought that storing carbon dioxide underground on a large scale is decades away.

Overshooting

The world has already warmed by 1 degree and momentum in the climate system will almost certainly see the world reach 1.5 degrees, perhaps as early as 2030. So if our goal is to limit warming to 1.5 degrees there will be an ‘overshoot’, taking warming to at least 2 and perhaps 3 degrees, before the average global temperature can be brought back down.

Here is the second troubling possibility. If the world warms by 2 or more degrees will feedback effects kick in – such as unstoppable melting of the Siberian permafrost, which could send more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, making it virtually impossible to stabilize warming at 2 degrees, let alone 1.5.

And if we could overshoot and return to 1.5 degrees, would ecosystems and vulnerable plant and animal species be able to survive the period of perhaps three or four or five decades of overshoot. Scientists hope that ecosystems possess ‘temporary resilience’ during the overshoot period so that they can bounce back when cooler conditions return.

Equally troubling, for those creatures and ecosystems that do manage to adapt to an environment 2 or 3 degrees warmer, could they cope in a cooling environment as the global temperature is wound back to 1.5 degrees?

When the nations of the world in Paris adopted the 1.5 degree aspiration the politicians were well ahead of the scientists. Now the scientists are scrambling to catch up.

This article was first published by Scientific American.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Eastern Japan Soil Becquerel Measurement Project Map

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Iwaki City

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Tomioka

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Naraha

Source Minna no Data website:

http://www.minnanods.net/maps/zoommap/

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment