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Japan to increase loan to Fukushima operator Tepco to $123 billion

Question to ask: why call this a loan when the law, like USA Price Anderson Act, limits nuclear power co from liability and puts the govt on the hook for everything beyond that?

Answer: I’d say most likely simple propaganda. That’s the taxpayers TRILLIONS that’s going to a ‘forever’ nuclear power plant black hole. That money will never be paid back to govt. The only thing I can imagine is that the Govt reneges on the agreement and socializes utilities in Japan. Because either the corporation nor govt can survive unless they do that…. or they can play fictionalized accounting for public.
What do you think?

 

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Japan will increase an interest-free loan to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power, by more than a third to 14 trillion yen ($123 billion), a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Spiraling costs from the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 are threatening the viability of the utility known as Tepco and hampering its ability to clean up its wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The increase in the loan from 9 trillion yen is to cover the costs for compensation and decontamination areas around the plant, according to the source, who is not authorized to speak to the media.

Three reactors melted down at the plant after a magnitude 9 earthquake in March 2011, which sparked a tsunami that devastated a large section of Japan’s northeastern coastline.

More than 15,000 people were killed in the natural disaster, which also caused a loss of power and cooling at the Fukushima station.

Explosions in the wake of the reactor meltdowns led to a massive release of radiation that prompted the evacuation of 160,000 people from areas around the plant, many of whom will never be able to return.

The disaster is likely to cost 22.6 trillion yen ($199 billion), more than double an earlier government estimate.

Costs for decommissioning the wrecked reactors will be covered by a separate arrangement from the loan, according to the Nikkei newspaper, which earlier reported the increase in the loan for Tepco.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-fukushima-support-idUSKBN13X00G?il=0

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | 1 Comment

The climate-water conflict – climate change increases risk of nuclear war

climate-doomsday

Kashmir, climate change, and nuclear war, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Zia Mian , 7 Dec 16 “……..The climate-water conflict. Along with the risks of war triggered by an escalation along the Line of Control in Kashmir or by attacks on Indian cities by Islamist militants backed by Pakistan, a new source of conflict between Pakistan and India has emerged, also centered on Kashmir. It is a struggle over access to and control over the water in the rivers that start as snow and glacial meltwater in the Himalayas and pass through Kashmir on their way to Pakistan as the Indus River Basin, ending in the Arabian Sea.

The Indus River and its tributaries are central to Pakistan’s water supply, food supply, and electricity production, and India relies on some of the same water. Under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan has control over the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab Rivers, and India manages the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi rivers until they cross into Pakistan and all merge into the Indus River. The treaty was established in part because of conflicts over water between the two countries following independence in 1947, including an Indian decision in 1948 to block some of the water flowing into Pakistan during the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir.

As water demand in both countries has grown to meet the needs of rapidly growing populations and increased agriculture and industrial use, large hydroelectric dams have been constructed, and renewed disputes are testing the Indus Waters Treaty. A 2011 United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee report assessed that “water may prove to be a source of instability in South Asia [as] new demands for the use of the river flows from irrigation and hydroelectric power are fueling tensions between India and Pakistan. A breakdown in the [Indus Water] treaty’s utility in resolving water conflicts could have serious ramifications for regional stability.” The report concluded grimly that “the United States cannot expect this region to continue to avoid ‘water wars’ in perpetuity.”………

Pakistan’s government, nationalist and militant organizations, and right-wing media frequently now present India’s construction of dams in Kashmir as a pressing national security threat and one that may call for extreme responses. An editorial in one leading urdu-language Pakistani newspaper in 2011 declared “Pakistan should convey to India that a war is possible on the issue of water and this time war will be a nuclear one.” ………http://thebulletin.org/kashmir-climate-change-and-nuclear-war10261

December 9, 2016 Posted by | climate change, India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear industry’s history of corruption

“Kikawada once said that building a nuclear plant is like doing a deal with the devil,”

text-from-the-archivesTepco ‘Deal With Devil’ Signals End to Japan’s Postwar Era, Business Week,   Octoberdevil-bargain 21, 2011,   “…..Tepco in 2002 admitted it had falsified maintenance reports at nuclear plants for more than two decades. Chairman Hiroshi Araki and President Nobuya Minami resigned to take responsibility.

Faked Records

In 2007, the utility said it hadn’t come entirely clean five years earlier and admitted to concealing at least six emergency stoppages at Dai-Ichi and a “critical” reaction at the plant’s No. 3 unit that lasted seven hours.

Kansai Electric, Chubu Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Hokuriku Electric Power Co. have also said they faked safety records.  “Accidents, mishaps, lies, duplicities — the postwar landscape of Japan’s nuclear power development is filled with fiascoes,” the University of Toronto’s Donnelly said.

Amid the accidents and fake safety reports, the underlying premise that resource-poor Japan had to rely on nuclear power was rarely questioned by the government, industry or the country’s bureaucrats……

The majority of opinion surveys show Japan’s public now opposes nuclear power. Sixty percent of respondents to a Mainichi newspaper poll published on Sept. 20 said they favor phasing out atomic energy…..

“The nuclear industry is a very Japanese bureaucracy in nature, similar to the Japanese army during World War II,” said Tetsunari Iida, executive director at the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies and a former nuclear industry official. “They don’t listen to anybody.”

Fukushima has ruptured the usual consensus within Japanese industry.  http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-21/tepco-deal-with-devil-signals-end-to-japan-s-postwar-era.html

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The lengthy process for decommissioning Palisades (or any) nuclear power station

DecommissioningDecommissioning Palisades nuclear plant a lengthy process, NRC says http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/12/decommissioning_palisades_nucl.html  COVERT, MI — When nuclear plants open, they are required to provide for their eventual closing.

Entergy Corp., owner of the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert Township near South Haven, had set aside  $384.16 million in 2014, according to the most recent report submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2015. (The next report, due in 2017, will show the numbers for 2016.).

Entergy Corp announced Thursday that it plans to close the Palisade plant in October 2018.

Viktoria Mitlyng, spokesperson for the NRC Midwestern Region near Chicago, said Entergy has 30 days from Thursday’s announcement to formally notify the NRC of its intentions.

Closing nuclear plants is a complicated process with “lots of moving parts,” she said. “Our role as a nuclear safety regulator, is to oversee that process, including the removal of all fuel from the reactor to a “spent fuel pool” withing the facility, to its eventual placement, for an indefinite period, in dry cask storage.”

 The dry cask storage is within the plant’s protected perimeter but not within the building itself, she said.

Throughout the process, Mitlyng said, the NRC requires that security is maintained and that detailed safety protocols are The very last phase of decommissioning requires that radiation levels in the area meet NRC requirements for decommissioning.

There is not yet a site, nationally, for long-term storage of spent fuel, an ongoing policy issue in which the NRC is not involved, Mitlyng said.

Until such a facility is planned – “and there is nothing on the drawing board at this point as far as we know,” she said — spent fuel remains in dry cask storage on site.

The storage is monitored by the NRC.

During final decommissioning, plant is taken apart — all radioactive systems are removed — and the plant has 60 years to get to final phase where the decommissioning is complete and meets NRC requirements.

After the plant is totally decommissioned, only the dry cask storage remains.

Some companies perform decommissioning activities themselves, others hire another company to take down the plant. If that is done, though, the license must be transferred, with NRC approval, Mitlyng said. The NRC also monitors the status of the decommissioning fund, which cannot be used for any other operations, she said.

“I want to emphasize that our responsibility as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is to ensure that a plant is safe, whether in operation or during decommissioning,” she said. “We have inspections for all stages of that process to assure that it is done in a way to protect people.”

Safety requirements do not change, whether a plant is operational or closing, Mitlyng said. “There is no change in the NRCs posture, none at all.”

December 9, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump on the inevitability of nuclear war

TrumpDoes Donald Trump Believe Nuclear War Is Inevitable? The man about to take control of US nukes has a very fatalistic view, Mother Jones,  DEC. 8, 2016 n just seven weeks, a man known for being ill-tempered, thin-skinned, narcissistic, and erratic will take control of the US nuclear arsenal. Donald Trump will have the authority and power to launch any combination of the country’s 4,500 nuclear weapons. At any time and for any reason he deems fit, Trump could destroy a nation and, through miscalculation, the world.

During the presidential campaign, he uttered several troubling statements about nuclear arms. At a Republican primary debate, he botched a question about the nuclear triadAmerica’s system of sea-, air-, and land-based nuclear weaponssuggesting he did not understand the most basic information about the structure of the US nuclear command. (He babbled, “For me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”) At other points in the campaign, Trump noted he would support allowing Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia to obtain nuclear weapons and indicated he would be open to using such weapons against ISIS and in other conflicts.

What makes Trump’s loose talk—and ignorance—about nuclear weapons particularly worrisome is that in the past, he has taken a fatalistic approach toward the notion of nuclear war. He has spoken as if he believed such a conflagration was almost inevitable. And now he is about to become one of the few humans on the planet who can decide the fate of the Earth……. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/donald-trump-nuclear-war-weapons-inevitable

December 9, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Suspected falsifying of documents: French prosecutors investigate Areva’s Le Creusot nuclear foundry

corruptionAREVA crumblingFrench court probes forged documents case at Areva nuclear foundry http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-nuclear-areva-court-idUSKBN13X20C, 8 Dec 16  The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the suspected falsifying of documents at Areva’s Le Creusot foundry that manufactures parts for nuclear reactors, a judicial source said on Thursday.

The case, which alleges forgery, use of forged documents, endangerment of lives and aggravated deception, will be put in the hands of the police, the source said. French nuclear safety regulator ASN said in October that it had asked the courts to step in to investigate after nuclear group Areva sounded the alarm in May over documentation irregularities involving 6,000 nuclear component manufacturing files.

Thousands of such documents used in the French nuclear sector dating back to 1965 are being looked at

“We have not been informed (of the investigation) at this point,” a spokeswoman for Areva told Reuters, adding that the group would cooperate with the investigation and hand over all information at its disposal.

The discovery of weak spots in the reactor vessel of the EPR reactor under construction in Flamanville in 2014 led Areva to review manufacturing procedures at its Creusot steel forging plant.

ASN said in September that Areva had identified 87 irregularities related to reactors operated by state utility EDF, 20 concerning equipment for the Flamanville reactor, and one related to a steam generator for EDF’s 900 MW Gravelines 5 reactor on halt since April.

 Gravelines 5’s restart has been pushed back to June 2017 after an executive told parliament in October that something suspicious had been discovered.   (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, Chine Labbé and Bate Felix; editing by Richard Balmforth/Mark Heinrich)

December 9, 2016 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

Australian uranium companies facing oblivion

burial.uranium-industryWriting on the wall for Paladin Energy Ltd, Mike King – December 1, 2016 Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) faces the prospect of being unable to repay US$212 million due in April 2017 and being forced into liquidation.

The troubled company has seen its share price slump more than 65% this year alone. The planned sale of 24% of its Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM) to CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings (COUH) for US$175 million appears unlikely to complete before the end of 2016. Now Paladin has been forced to consider other ‘contingencies’ to repay the 2017 convertible bonds.

Not only that but Paladin also needs to raise working capital as it struggles to generate positive cash flow with uranium prices trading under US$20 per pound – the lowest prices in more than 12 years. As Paladin admits, that’s a level that no producer in the world can sustainably break even, and most producers are experiencing negative cash flows.

That’s a long way away from Paladin’s all-in cash expenditure of extracting uranium of US$38.75 per pound (lb). Even the company’s C1 cash costs of US$25.88/lb are well above the spot price of uranium. Paladin is forecasting all-in costs of around US$30/lb for the 2017 financial year, but it’s clear that even at that level, the company is going backwards.

Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX: ERA), majority owned by Rio Tinto Limited(ASX: RIO) faces a similar prospect to Paladin and is likely to shut up shop in 2021, once it has finished processing stockpiles at its Ranger uranium mine.

The problem for uranium miners around the world is that since the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011, uranium prices have steadily fallen from above US$60/lb to its current price under US$20/lb……

Paladin faces the prospect of sinking into administration unless it can find a white knight willing to take a minority stake in its mine – or make an outright bid for the whole company.

That appears highly unlikely.  http://www.fool.com.au/2016/12/01/writing-on-the-wall-for-paladin-energy-ltd/

December 9, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Pope Francis implores world leaders to implement climate agreements, and to heed science

PopePope Francis: “Never been such a clear need for science” to protect the planet https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/29/pope-francis-urges-world-leaders-not-to-delay-climate-change-efforts/?utm_term=.0f0a9bece2f5   November 29 Pope Francis this week implored world leaders not to postpone the implementation of global environmental pacts, an appeal that appeared aimed at President-elect Donald Trump’s vows to end the United States’ leading role in combating climate change.

The pope’s remarks came during a gathering of scientists at the Vatican, at which he said there has “never been such a clear need for science” to guide human actions to safeguard the future of the planet.

“It is worth noting that international politics has reacted weakly — albeit with some praiseworthy exceptions — regarding the concrete will to seek the common good and universal goods, and the ease with which well-founded scientific opinion about the state of our planet is disregarded,” the pontiff said, according to a translation provided by the Vatican. He added that the “‘distraction’ or delay” in implementing global agreements on the environment demonstrates how politics have become submissive “to a technology and an economy which seek profit above all else.”

[Trump victory reverses U.S. energy and environmental priorities]

Trump, who is set to become one of the only world leaders to question the notion of global warming, has vowed to “cancel” U.S. participation in the international climate accord signed last year in Paris, in which countries pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions sharply in coming years. In addition, Trump has called for rolling back pollution regulations on the oil, gas and coal industries and shrinking the role of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This week’s comments echoed an encyclical regarding the environment issued by Francis last year in which he wrote about the “urgent challenge to protect our common home” and argued that “the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.”

At the Vatican, Francis praised the work of scientists, who he said must remain independent and emerge as leaders in fighting for climate action.

“I would say that it falls to scientists, who work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences,” he said, “so that the vast potential of productivity will not be reserved for only a few.”

December 9, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear power just not economic – another nuclear station bites the dust

nuclear-dominoesMarket Conditions Doom Another Nuclear Plant, Palisades, to Closure in 2018 12/08/2016 Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)Entergy Corp. has decided to permanently close the Palisades nuclear power plant on October 1, 2018…….

In a press release, Entergy said Consumers’ customers would save as much as $172 million over four years, even after paying Entergy $172 million to terminate the contract. The early termination payment is expected to “help assure the plant’s transition from operations to decommissioning.”

The 798-MW plant located about five miles south of South Haven, Mich., faced economic difficulties similar to other single-unit facilities, such as the recently closed Fort Calhoun Plant, and the R.E. Ginna, Nine Mile Point, FitzPatrick, and Clinton plants, which only remained viable after subsidies were approved in New York and Illinois. Entergy said, “market conditions have changed substantially, and more economic alternatives are now available to provide reliable power to the region.”

“Entergy recognizes the consequences of a Palisades shutdown for our approximately 600 employees who have run the plant safely and reliably, and for the surrounding community, and we will work closely with both to provide support during the transition,” said Entergy Chairman and CEO Leo Denault. “We determined that a shutdown in 2018 is prudent when comparing the transaction to the business risks of continued operation.”……http://www.powermag.com/market-conditions-doom-another-nuclear-plant-palisades-to-closure-in-2018/

December 9, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Entergy’s troubled Palisades nuclear power plant for early shutdown

nuclear-dominoesFlag-USAEntergy strikes deal with Michigan utility, will shut Palisades nuke plant http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_40cc55e6-bd4d-11e6-b979-975dba92ca04.html ADVOCATE STAFF REPORT, DEC 8, 2016 

A deal with Michigan’s largest utility will result in Entergy Corp. permanently shutting down the troubled Palisades nuclear power plant in 2018, four years earlier than the New Orleans-based company could have under an earlier contract.

Entergy bought the plant from Consumers Energy in 2007. The original agreement required Consumers Energy to purchase nearly all of the power the plant generated through April 2022. But market conditions have changed substantially since the purchase, with much cheaper power alternatives now available.

 Consumers Energy will pay Entergy $172 million, half the $344 million the Michigan utility expects to save by buying power elsewhere over four years, for an early end to the original deal.

Consumers Energy customers’ costs will drop by as much as $172 million over four years, according to Entergy. Assuming regulators approve, Entergy intends to shut down the Palisades plant on Oct. 1, 2018.

 The plant closure will affect around 600 workers. Entergy will also provide $8 million and Consumers Energy Foundation $2 million over several years to fund economic development efforts for the Southwest Michigan region.

Palisades was shut down eight times between 2012 and 2014, according to Michigan Radio. The plant shut down again in September after part of the turbine generation system, just days ahead of a scheduled maintenance shut down.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s new ‘drone submarine’ with range of 6,200 miles

Russia tests terrifying unmanned ‘drone submarine’ capable of carrying nuclear warheads within range of the US,

Top-secret nuclear-capable submarine is code-named Kanyon by the Pentagon
It is feared to have a range of 6,200 miles with top speeds of up to 56 knots
US officials detected the testing on November 27 at an undisclosed location
It comes after Russia unveiled design of a robot submarine called Surrogat

The top-secret nuclear-capable sub, code-named Kanyon by the Pentagon, is feared to have a range of up to 6,200 miles with top speeds of 56 knots.

US security officials detected the test on November 27 after it was launched from a separate Sarov-class submarine though the location has not been revealed. …..

It would be used to help Russian navy training but could also be used for ‘mapping and reconnaissance’ trips, according to Russia’s Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering. ….. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4014014/Russia-tests-terrifying-unmanned-drone-submarine-capable-carrying-nuclear-warheads-range-US.html

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pakistan and India – a dangerous situation that could bring about global nuclear war

Kashmir, climate change, and nuclear war, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Zia Mian , 7 Dec 16 In April 2016, speaking at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, which had brought together more than 50 government leaders, President Obama described what he saw as the three major nuclear weapons challenges. Along with difficulties in achieving further nuclear arsenal reductions by the United States and Russia and the problem of North Korea, President Obama listed Pakistan and India and the need, as he put it, for “making sure that as they develop military doctrine that they are not continually moving in the wrong direction.” The White House press secretary later explained that underlying the President’s concern about South Asia was “the risk that a conventional conflict between India and Pakistan could escalate to include the use of nuclear weapons.” It is a well-founded fear and one that has become more urgent as tensions between Pakistan and India have escalated.

Kashmir. A potential trigger for armed conflict that might escalate to nuclear war between Pakistan and India is the dispute over the land and people of Kashmir. Pakistan has claimed this territory since the partition of British India in 1947 that created the borders of India and Pakistan. The dispute has led already to three wars, in 1947, 1965, and 1999, and left Kashmir divided between Pakistan and India along a Line of Control where the armies of Pakistan and India now confront each other in an uneasy stalemate. There are recurring artillery exchanges along this Line of Control, despite a 2003 cease-fire agreement. At times this firing has claimed significant military and civilian casualties.

As part of its efforts to pressure India into giving up Kashmir, Pakistan has backed Kashmiri insurgents and used Islamist militants to launch attacks across the Line of Control. ……

Frustration in the armies on both sides has led to furious, seemingly indiscriminate firing across the Line of Control. The scale of civilian casualties has led hundreds of people to flee their homes on both sides of the line; local villagers say it seems as “if a full-blown war is going on between India and Pakistan.”

Meanwhile many Kashmiris have turned to supporting groups resisting Indian rule and been met with repression from security forces………

It is not just attacks by Pakistan-backed militants on Indian forces in Kashmir and subsequent Indian reprisals that could escalate and tip the two countries into another major war. A related trigger would be an attack on an Indian city by Islamist militant groups, along the lines of the assault on Mumbai in November 2008 that claimed hundreds of casualties and was linked to intelligence agencies in Pakistan. ………

The climate-water conflict……

From tactical weapons to massive retaliation. India anticipates that Pakistan might use nuclear weapons against Indian conventional forces during a war. The Indian Army conducted a massive military exercise in April 2016 in the Rajasthan Desert bordering Pakistan, involving tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers, and 30,000 soldiers who practiced what they would do if attacked with nuclear weapons on the battlefield. An Indian Army spokesman told the media that “our policy has been always that we will never use nuclear weapons first. But if we are attacked, we need to gather ourselves and fight through it. The simulation is about doing exactly that.” This was not the first such exercise.

Indian nuclear doctrine also calls for massive retaliation directed at Pakistani cities, and Pakistan has threatened to respond in kind. In 2003, India’s cabinet declared nuclear weapons “will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere… [N]uclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.” According to Admiral Vijay Shankar, a former head of Indian strategic nuclear forces, such retaliation would involve nuclear attacks on Pakistan’s cities.

General Kidwai from Pakistan describes such Indian threats as “bluster and blunder,” since they “are not taking into account the balance of nuclear weapons of Pakistan, which hopefully not, but has the potential to go back and give the same kind of dose to the other side.” This seems an explicit suggestion of Pakistan planning to target Indian cities with nuclear weapons in retaliation of Indian nuclear attacks on Pakistani cities.

From regional war to great power war. Time is not on our side. The failure to settle the Kashmir dispute despite the passage of 70 years has already triggered three wars. While Pakistan clings grimly to its claims on Kashmir, India seems less inclined to compromise as it grows in economic and military power. Adding to this will be the inevitable pressures from climate change over the coming decades on the Himalayan glaciers, the monsoons, and ground water in the Indus Basin, which will lead to reduced and less reliable access to water in an already water-stressed region, at a time of rapidly growing demand. These drivers have already started to overlap, and conflicts over land, people, blood, and water may become one.

Once initiated, possibly even by the actions of a small militant group, a Pakistan-India conflict may well escalate into a larger war and then bring in allied outside powers, as happened in Europe in World War I.

Pakistan is building ever closer military and economic ties to China; India is becoming a strategic partner of the United States. These alliances with great powers may give policy makers in Pakistan and Indian confidence in escalating a conflict and issuing nuclear threats during a crisis. Because of the increasingly tense and militarized nature of the rivalry between China and the United States, a South Asian conflict that draws them in could escalate into a potentially far more destructive war.

Given these risks, forestalling crises and possible war in South Asia should be a priority. The long history of failures to find a path to peace for Kashmir through United Nations resolutions and bilateral Pakistan-India agreements seems to have sapped the will to try to address the dispute directly. Preventing a South Asian war from becoming nuclear war will require progress on banning the bomb. http://thebulletin.org/kashmir-climate-change-and-nuclear-war10261

December 9, 2016 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

German legal case sets precedent for limiting the greed of nuclear and coal companies

 justiceflag_germanyLimiting the greed of the nuclear industry http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-limiting-the-greed-of-the-nuclear-industry/a-36664176 The German Constitutional Court’s decision that an accelerated nuclear phase-out is legal, and limiting compensation for energy companies is good news, says DW’s Gero Reuter. This could even set a precedent for coal.

“Property entails obligations. Its use shall also serve the public good,” states article 14 of the German constitution. At the same time, the German constitution demands that expropriation is permissible for the public good, and will be compensated after balancing the interests of everyone affected.

That’s the most crucial background to Germany’s biggest power companies – Eon, RWE and Swedish state-owned company Vattenfall – having filed lawsuits against the German government. They asked for compensation for the government’s decision in 2011 to hurry through shutdown of nuclear reactors in the wake of the 2011 nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima reactor.

According to the energy companies, the nuclear phase-out is an unconstitutional expropriation of their power plants and possible energy production. They had asked for compensation of around 19 billion euros ($20 billion), which was supposed to be shelled out by taxpayers – around 230 euros from each citizen, babies to pensioners.

This week, Germany’s Constitutional Court mostly rejected their claims, saying the law for a nuclear phase-out from 2011 “is mostly compatible with Germany’s constitution.”

Only long-term investments that the power companies made between December 2010 and March 2011 are eligible for compensation, the court ruled, as the German government agreed to a maximum lifetime extension of nuclear power plants for 12 years in 2010.

What’s more, Germany’s Constitutional Court said some of the power companies received unequal treatment, and thus ruled that the German government has to adjust the law accordingly by June 2018.

Good news for taxpayers and the environment

The ruling is good news for taxpayers and the environment, as it will limit the greed of power companies to tap even more subsidies at the expense of public health, the environment and government budgets.

As to the requested compensation costs of around 19 billion euros – fortunately there’s not much left to this argument. It’s possible that the German government won’t have to pay anything to the energy companies at all. If worse comes to worse, it may pay a billion euros. This all depends on how the state will define unequal treatment of the different energy companies over the months to come.

What’s even more positive and groundbreaking is the legal reasoning behind the ruling. Germany’s Constitutional Court stressed several times that it attaches great importance to the protection of life, health and natural resources, and to the minimization of risks through the use of nuclear energy. It also said this could lead to an even faster nuclear phase-out, and that the German government could change its laws after the fact.

Thinking into the future, this decision could set a precedent for legal support to Germany being on the necessary path to withdraw from coal-powered electricity, and to shorten the long-term operating licenses power companies retain for mining lignite (brown coal).

The energy companies should carefully study this decision, and read between the lines to see how the German constitution truly works. “Property entails obligations. Its use shall also serve the public good.”

And if companies don’t use their property for the public good, then the state can expropriate this under certain circumstances. Obviously, the state then has to pay an appropriate compensation fee after balancing the interests of everyone involved – that’s fair.

But it should pay only what’s fair and not a cent more – especially not for big, powerful energy companies.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Mitsubishi Heavy makes huge and risky investment in AREVA nuclear

scrutiny-on-costsAREVA crumblingMitsubishi Heavy faces tough decisions in nuclear power business  Orders dry up at home and abroad after Fukushima disaster, Nikkei Asian Review, 8 Dec 16,  TOKYO –– Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel are putting the final touches on a plan to acquire a roughly 10% stake in the troubled French nuclear energy company Areva. But for Mitsubishi Heavy it is an agonizing decision.

The investment would involve spending 40-50 billion yen ($350-438 million), which is an extraordinary amount considering the uncertain future of the nuclear power business. Mitsubishi Heavy has made little headway with exports, highlighted by Vietnam’s recent decision to abandon plans for a pair of nuclear plants. The Japanese company finds itself in a tight spot, pulling with no progress on a rope it cannot release.
In Japan, the Sendai plant operated by Kyushu Electric Power is one of the few domestic nuclear power plants now running. Restarting other plants and making them safer and more quake-resistant are the tasks at hand. But Mitsubishi Heavy has received few hard orders and it is rough going for the manufacturing aspect of its nuclear power business, admitted company President Shunichi Miyanaga.

Facing dim prospects for new domestic orders, both Mitsubishi Heavy and Japan Nuclear Fuel must find other ways to secure enough business to keep their equipment and workforces active.

Back in 2006, Mitsubishi Heavy partnered with Areva to develop a so-called Generation III+ pressurized-water reactor with state-of-the-art technologies. The team has been using the design to compete with the larger, older-generation pressurized-water systems promoted by two other groups: the team of Hitachi and General Electric, and the team of Toshiba and Westinghouse…….

The French government, which owns nearly 90% of Areva, is looking to cut its losses. Unprofitable businesses are being excised from Areva and a new company is being set up that will seek over 30% of its capital from Japan, China, and elsewhere. …

There are lingering worries inside Mitsubishi Heavy about this huge investment in Areva. To alleviate those concerns, Mitsubishi Heavy has voiced confidence that there will be another nuclear renaissance in 20 to 30 years……http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Deals/Mitsubishi-Heavy-faces-tough-decisions-in-nuclear-power-business

December 9, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, Japan, politics international | Leave a comment

Mitsubishi takes risk of investing in Areva , hoping to export nuclear reactors

Buy-Japan's-nukes-2AREVA crumblingMitsubishi Heavy, Japan Nuclear Fuel to invest in struggling Areva http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Deals/Mitsubishi-Heavy-Japan-Nuclear-Fuel-to-invest-in-struggling-Areva, 7 Dec 16,
Japanese companies eye nuclear power plant exports amid low domestic demend 
TOKYO — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel are finalizing plans to invest in French nuclear giant Areva, which is currently in the throes of restructuring.

The two companies will take stakes in Areva to a combined 10% by jointly injecting 40 billion yen to 50 billion yen ($352 million to $440 million) by January 2017.

 With demand for new nuclear power plants not expected in Japan, the companies will buttress exports for emerging countries through the partnership with Areva.
Currently, the French government has an investment of less than 90% in the company, both directly and indirectly. The government plans to split off the company’s unprofitable businesses and rehabilitate the French company. It will lower its holding to under 70% and accept foreign investment to make up the rest

Along with Mitsubishi Heavy and Japan Nuclear Fuel, China National Nuclear Corp. may also become an investor.

Mitsubishi Heavy has already revealed plans to invest in Areva and a subsidiary while holding talks with the French government and the struggling company over the deal.

Areva has booked significant losses following a series of delays and cancellations to plant-construction projects and now finds itself going through a financial crisis.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, marketing | Leave a comment