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Nuclear and climate news to 17 December

a-cat-CANAs the Western world gets into the Christmas frenzy, with, alas, all its associated over-consumption, things seem to have gone rather quiet on the climate and nuclear news scene.

Not really. For USA and world politics, most observers are aghast at the team of billionaires that Donald Trump is picking for his administration. In particular, the consequences for climate action look dire.

On the nuclear scene, the facade of success is being maintained by the industry, especially in the UK.  where the global industry’s big hope, Hinkley C nuclear project, struggles on.  Behind the scenes, the “new Small Nuclear” proponents, often led by Bill Gates, quietly sabotage the “conventional Big Nukes” , and promote small nuclear reactors as “clean”.  More about that later.

Julia Gillard on the need for education funding.

Increasing threat of computer hacking on nuclear plants.

 

UK. Pro nuclear UK Prime Minister Theresa May heading towards quiet public subsidising of new nuclear stations, South Korea might join the throng marketing their costly nuclear reactors to Britain. Engie, (formerly GDF Suez) might pull out of UK nuclear power plan at Moorside in Cumbria. Confusion in , and opposition to, Bradwell’s Chinese-built nuclear plant plans. Anglesey UK: economy stagnates during the struggle to find finance for Wylfa Newydd New Nuclear.

FRANCE. French Nuclear Industry in Chaos. Financially strapped French company AREVA gets a lifeline. EDF in dire financial straits, too. Global review of nuclear reactors, following news of cover-up of AREVA’s manufacturing flaws.  Nuclear worker convicted of terrorism conspiracy – had worked for 3 years while under investigation!

USA.

JAPAN. Japanese government to provide $8.5 billion for a UK nuclear power plant project in Wales. Fukushima evacuee poll finds kids in eight Yokohama-area households had experienced bullying. More Evacuees Sue Govt, TEPCO over Fukushima N-Accident.

CHINA. China again flies nuclear-capable bomber over South China Sea

TAIWAN. Taiwan to hold off on plans for problematic Japanese food imports

GERMANY. Germany’s parliament approves nuclear waste deal with industry

SOUTH AFRICA. Another delay in South Africa’s troubled move towards new nuclear reactors. South Africa’s Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson ordered to pay punitive costs in nuclear case

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December 17, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

French Nuclear Industry in Chaos

plants-downNuClear News No 91, Jan 2017  On 14th December some thirty Greenpeace activists blocked the EDF headquarters in Paris to denounce the financial scandal and technical bankruptcy of the Company. They hung a banner on the front of the HQ building which declared that EDF has a debt of 74 billion euros, but because of nuclear power, this figure will rise even higher. (1)

As we reported last month Greenpeace commissioned an audit by AlphaValue, the equity research company. The report indicated that EDF grossly underestimates the cost of nuclear electricity. If it disclosed the true cost of running its fleet of reactors in France while financing two new ones in the UK, it would be declared bankrupt. (2) (3)

France is set to have its usual nuclear power capacity almost completely restored by midJanuary, after a number of plants come back online following inspections. Only 4 out of 58 nuclear power plants will be offline by the middle of January, so worries about shortages have eased. EDF has confirmed that seven nuclear reactors shut down for safety checks would be up and running again by the end of December and there should be no problem with power supplies this winter.

Grid operator RTE said that three of the seven reactors offline – Gravelines 2, Dampierre 3 and Tricastin 3 – would resume production from December 20th and that four more would restart before December 31st. The seven reactors are among 12 that have been slated for inspections under orders from the nuclear regulator ASN following the discovery of high carbon concentrations, which could weaken their steel. (4)

EDF has asked ASN if it can postpone the outage of the 1.5-GW Civaux-1 and the 900-MW Tricastin-2 reactors to March and February respectively. The Civaux-1 and Tricastin-2 reactors are currently both due to go offline December 23 and return on January 15. (5)

While this particular crisis may appear to have an end in sight, the French industry’s problems are now moving overseas. Manufacturing problems and forged paperwork as identified at Le Creusot are rare in the nuclear industry, where strict adherence to production and operating rules are supposed to be a crucial buffer against nuclear accidents. Independent nuclear energy consultant Mycle Schneider says “Having worked for over 30 years in France, I did not think this was possible for this country, [but it is] likely we have seen only the tip of the iceberg.”

Inspectors from the U.S. China and four other countries are investigating the decades-long cover up of the manufacturing problems at Le Creusot to see whether flaws represent a safety threat to their reactors. After investigators discovered files suggesting Le Creusot employees had concealed for decades manufacturing problems involving hundreds of components sold to customers around the world, the French regulator, ASN, ordered Areva to check 6,000 manufacturing files by hand, covering every nuclear part made at Le Creusot since the 1960s. Finnish inspectors visiting Le Creusot said they learned of potential flaws in a component slated for the reactor at Olkiluoto. In the U.S., the NRC has identified at least nine nuclear plants that use large components from Le Creusot.

“I’m concerned that there keep being more and more problems unveiled,” said Kerri Kavanagh, who leads the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s unit inspecting Le Creusot. Regulators are considering returning to Le Creusot or inspecting Areva’s Lynchburg, Va., offices to deepen their probe of the plant, a U.S. official said.http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo91.pdf

December 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

The death of Karen Silkwood

text-from-the-archivesSilkwood,KKaren Gay Silkwood (February 19, 1946 – November 13, 1974) was an American chemical technician and labor union activist known for raising concerns about corporate practices related to health and safety of workers in a nuclear facility. Following her mysterious death, which received extensive coverage, her estate filed a lawsuit against chemical company Kerr-McGee, which was eventually settled for $1.38 million. Silkwood was portrayed by Meryl Streep in Mike Nichols‘ 1983 Academy Award-nominated film Silkwood.

She worked at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site plant near Crescent, Oklahoma, United States. Silkwood’s job was making plutonium pellets for nuclear reactor fuel rods. This plant experienced theft of plutonium by workers during this era. She joined the union and became an activist on behalf of issues of health and safety at the plant as a member of the union’s negotiating team, the first woman to have that position at Kerr-McGee. In the summer of 1974, she testified to the Atomic Energy Commission about her concerns.

For three days in November, she was found to have plutonium contamination on her person and in her home. That month, while driving to meet with David Burnham, a New York Times journalist, and Steve Wodka, an official of her union’s national office, she died in a car crash under unclear circumstances.

Her family sued Kerr-McGee on behalf of her estate. In what was the longest trial up until then in Oklahoma history, the jury found Kerr-McGee liable for the plutonium contamination of Silkwood, and awarded substantial damages. These were reduced on appeal, but the case reached the United States Supreme Court in 1979, which upheld the damages verdict. Before another trial took place, Kerr-McGee settled with the estate out of court for US $1.38 million, while not admitting liability. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Silkwood

Questions Still Remain In Suspicious Death Of Karen Silkwood

December 17, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 2 Comments

Nuclear Whistleblowers Report Criminal Acts by Multiple US Government Agencies; Affidavit Ties Lockheed-Martin to Karen Silkwood’s Death.

Silkwood,Ktext-from-the-archives

Mining Awareness +

Nuclear Whistleblowers Proof of Criminal Acts by Multiple Government Agencies“, 3 Hour Video here: http://youtu.be/x1usmYI-v88 Partial summary of case below Affidavit. (This video gets more interesting as it goes along and is worthwhile, though so long we didn’t finish it. It also discusses Silkwood’s death.)

Today, February 19th, Texas born Karen Silkwood would have been 70 years old. Instead she was killed in 1974, at age 28, in a car crash while en route to meet with a New York Times reporter, and a US AEC (NRC-DOE) official.[1] She reportedly had “discovered evidence of spills, leaks, and missing plutonium…“, [2] as well as defective fuel rods, at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Facility in Oklahoma. She had just left a union meeting, and “another attendee of that meeting later testified that Silkwood had a binder and a packet of documents with her… Silkwood’s relatives, too, confirmed that…

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December 17, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear UK Prime Minister Theresa May heading towards quiet public subsidising of new nuclear stations

any UK financing would be “off balance sheet” to avoid inflating public debts
The UK’s willingness to consider government involvement reflects a change in thinking since Theresa May replaced David Cameron as prime minister last June. Her enthusiasm for “industrial strategy” — a term enshrined in Mr Clark’s formal job title — has already been widely interpreted as signalling a greater openness to intervention in business affairs.
may-theresaPublic finance sought for Welsh nuclear plant, Hitachi in talks over state funding for Wylfa in Anglesey by:  and  in London, Ft.com, 16 Dec 16  

Hitachi is in talks with the Japanese and UK governments about potential state financing for the multibillion-pound nuclear power station it is planning to build in Wales.

Government equity, loans and credit guarantees are among the options being explored by the Japanese conglomerate and officials in London and Tokyo, according to people briefed on the matter.

Any UK public finance for the power plant at Wylfa in Anglesey would represent a major change in policy; the British government has for years resisted the idea of exposing taxpayers’ money to the heavy expense and high risks involved in building nuclear reactors.

Philip Hammond, UK chancellor, is in Japan this week, and Greg Clark, business secretary, is expected to visit next week, with the Hitachi nuclear project high on the agenda for both.

Following a meeting with government officials and business leaders in Tokyo on Thursday, Mr Hammond that financing for the nuclear power project in Wales could total around £12bn, of which a portion would be contributed by Japan. Negotiations are continuing but bankers indicated the Japanese contribution could be on the order of ¥1tn ($8.5bn).

People involved in the process said talks still “have a long way to go” and it was far from certain that a deal with the two governments would be reached.

One person said that any UK financing would be “off balance sheet” to avoid inflating public debts. This could include the government taking a direct minority stake alongside Hitachi provided it did not bring the whole project on to the Treasury’s books. Japanese government support is likely to come in the form of loans.

UK government officials said they were “looking at options” for how the Wylfa project should be financed.

The UK’s willingness to consider government involvement reflects a change in thinking since Theresa May replaced David Cameron as prime minister last June. Her enthusiasm for “industrial strategy” — a term enshrined in Mr Clark’s formal job title — has already been widely interpreted as signalling a greater openness to intervention in business affairs.

Hitachi acquired Horizon Nuclear Power, the company planning to build the Wylfa plant, from German utilities Eon and RWE in 2012.

The scheme has been given fresh momentum by the government’s approval in September for the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant in Somerset — a decision which confirmed Mrs May’s support for renewal of the UK’s nuclear power industry……. https://www.ft.com/content/8204883c-c2eb-11e6-9bca-2b93a6856354

December 17, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry prolongs the delusion that UK’s Hinkley nuclear station is proceeding well

nuclear-dreamflag-UKHinkley Point C Wylfa Newydd  NuClear News No 91, Jan 2017 Back at the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference EDF’s Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson tries to keep the delusion going telling delegates that “1,000 workers [are] currently on site” and “first nuclear concrete expected in Q1 2017”

In fact the first pour of concrete (for the reactors) will not start until 2019. At the moment a temporary jetty is being built but it will take about a year to complete and construction of workers’ accommodation may start in 2017. In the meantime about a 100 HGV lorry movements a day are carrying, spoil, limestone, rebar, metal shearing aggregate and plate material. 40 buses a day carry shift workers between Bridgwater and the site, but ironically these buses can’t be used by local residents who have had their local services scrapped.

So there will be two more years of falling renewable costs and rising nuclear costs before construction at Hinkley can get underway in earnest. And two more years of revelations about the mess that EDF and Areva have gotten themselves into. ) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo91.pdf

December 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Increasing threat of computer hacking on nuclear plants

hackerThreat rises of hacking on nuclear plants http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/threat-rises-of-hacking-on-nuclear-plants/news-story/b339bce09319bb03647838d8eacaa9f4.16 Dec 16 The “nightmare scenario” is rising for a hacking attack on a nuclear power plant’s computer system that causes the uncontrolled release of radiation, the United Nations’ deputy chief has warned.

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told a Security Council meeting on Thursday that extremists and “vicious non-state groups” are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction “and these weapons are increasingly accessible”.

Non-state actors can already create mass disruption using cyber technologies – and hacking a nuclear plant would be a “nightmare scenario,” he said.

The open council meeting focused on ways to stop the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons by extremist groups and criminals.

Members unanimously approved a resolution to strengthen the work of the council committee monitoring what countries are doing to prevent “non-state actors” from acquiring or using weapons of mass destruction, known as WMDs.

Eliasson said there are legitimate concerns about the security of stockpiles of radioactive material suitable for making nuclear weapons but that are outside international regulation.

In addition, he said, “scientific advances have lowered barriers to the production of biological weapons.”

“And emerging technologies, such as 3D printing and unmanned aerial vehicles, are adding to threats of an attack using a WMD,” Eliasson said.

He said the international community needs robust defences to stay ahead of this technological curve.

“Preventing a WMD attack by a non-state actor will be a long-term challenge that requires long-term responses,” Eliasson said.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

South Korea might join the throng marketing their costly nuclear reactors to Britain

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South Korea says minister, British counterpart discussed nuclear power cooperation http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear-uk-idUSKBN14508N 15 Dec 16 South Korea’s energy minister Joo Buy-S-Korea-nukesHyung-hwan discussed cooperation on British nuclear energy projects in a meeting in London on Thursday with Britain’s business minister Greg Clark, South Korea’s energy ministry said in a statement.

The statement from Seoul didn’t disclose details of discussions on nuclear energy, but said the two countries will hold a follow-up meeting in the first half of next year.

A British government statement issued said the two countries underlined a commitment at the meeting to keep working together on science, innovation and technology, without mentioning nuclear power.

Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy and the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear power, is keen to export its nuclear reactor technology, developed through state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).

Earlier this year, Britain gave the green light to the $24 billion Hinkley Point C project, its first new nuclear power plant in decades.

Along with that project, NuGen, a joint venture between Toshiba and French utility company Engie, plans to build three reactors at the Moorside site on the coast of Cumbria, in northwest England.

According to Seoul’s statement on Friday, Korea’s energy minister also had a meeting with NuGen chief Tom Samson during his British visit. The minister said Korean participation in Nugen projects would contribute to their success.

Earlier this year a person familiar with the situation told Reuters KEPCO had engaged in talks with Toshiba and Engie about buying a stake NuGen. A NuGen spokesman declined to comment on whether talks were taking place with KEPCO, which also declined to comment.

(Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

December 17, 2016 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | 1 Comment

American scientists making backups of climate data: fears that Trump will destroy climate files

trump-burning-booksScientists backing up climate data over fears it could be erased under Donald Trump, ABC News 14 Dec 16  Scientists in the United States are making copies of federal climate and environmental data over fears it could be erased under Donald Trump’s administration.

The mass action — being coordinated by the University of Pennsylvania’s Program in the Environmental Humanities (PPEH Lab) — has been dubbed a “data rescue” and has brought together academics from across the country and in neighbouring Canada.

It aims to safeguard data “vulnerable under an administration which denies the fact of ongoing climate change” by storing it on an independent server. Researchers are also collating a spreadsheet of the research they deem to be at risk once the President-elect takes office on January 20.

The movement was spurred by a tweet from meteorologist and journalist Eric Holthaus, who became worried after Mr Trump announced he would be appointing Exxon-Mobil Corp chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state…….

news that Oklahoma attorney-general Scott Pruitt will lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has further inflamed tensions.

In a statement, Mr Pruitt was described as “a national leader against the EPA’s job-killing war on coal”.

In a piece for The Washington Post, Holthaus yesterday wrote that archiving climate data was “an extraordinary step to have to take, but we live in an extraordinary moment”.

“There is no remaining doubt that Trump is serious about overtly declaring war on science,” he said.”This isn’t a presidential transition. It’s an Inquisition. It’s a 21st-century book burning.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/scientists-backing-up-climate-data-over-trump-fears/8119234

December 17, 2016 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese government to provide $8.5 billion) for a UK nuclear power plant project in Wales

Tax - payersJapan, Hitachi to stump up $8.5 billion for Horizon nuclear project in Wales: source http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-nuclear-hitachi-idUSKBN1440BA   By Takaya Yamaguchi | TOKYO, 15 Dec 16 The Japanese government and a Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) unit will compile a package worth around 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) for a UK nuclear power plant project, a government official involved in the project said on Thursday.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Development Bank of Japan will provide financing for the project, the official told Reuters.

The funding plans are a boost for the project, one of several new nuclear plants planned in the UK, which is aiming to replacing its ageing fleet of atomic reactors.

Hitachi’s Horizon unit plans to construct at least 5.4 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity across two sites in Britain.

The funds will be provided for the first plant planned at Wylfa Newydd in Wales.

The Nikkei newspaper said Hitachi would invest about 10 percent of the expected 19 billion pounds ($24 billion) cost of the project. A Hitachi official declined to comment, saying the amount has not been announced.

($1 = 117.2600 yen)

($1 = 0.7971 pounds)

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Japan, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson ordered to pay punitive costs in nuclear case

joemat-pettersson-tinaSouth Africa: Court Orders Punitive Costs Against Minister in Nuclear Case http://allafrica.com/stories/201612150392.html By Ashleigh Furlong, 14 Dec 16   Minutes before hearing, ministry reveals new determination on nuclear energy

The Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been ordered by the Western Cape High Court to pay punitive costs including the costs of four counsel for Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) after the state brought forward new evidence minutes before the case was set to begin.

A court orders punitive costs usually when it is dissatisfied with the conduct of a litigant. This is rare and is considered a strong rebuke.

The respondents in the case are the Minister of Energy, the president, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) as well as two representatives from Parliament.

Yesterday, the case began with a postponement until February 2017, as it was revealed mere minutes before the hearing was to begin that the Minister had made a new nuclear energy determination – replacing a decision that was gazetted last December.

Part of the relief sought by Earthlife and SAFCEI was for the old decision to be declared invalid. They also want the court to declare invalid the agreement between South Africa and Russia, as well as the tabling in Parliament of the deals with the USA and Korea.

  The new decision now states that Eskom, not the Department of Energy – as was the case in the old determination – will be the procurement agency for 9,600 megawatts of nuclear energy.

“Despite it being signed on 5 December 2016, the Court was not informed thereof and neither were the applicants – until literally minutes before the hearing was to begin. The Court stressed in its judgment that there was no evidence presented to the court explaining how this determination came about, when it was decided upon and the processes leading thereto, despite the Determination apparently having been made more than a week before the hearing,” says a statement issued by Earthlife and SAFCEI.

The South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) has also expressed concern over the new determination, saying that it was “seemingly rushed through” on the basis of “the very outdated Integrated Resource Plan published in 2010”.

“We are further disheartened by Eskom’s Acting CEO’s simultaneous announcement that the utility will release a nuclear Request for Proposals as soon as the determination is gazetted,” says Brenda Martin, Chair of SAREC in the statement.

“SAREC believes that this irrational behaviour fans the flames of suspicion as to the real motives behind the nuclear campaign. Facts, logic and basic financial prudence simply do not support this determination,” says the statement.

Earthlife and SAFCEI wanted the request for proposals to be halted until the court case was finalised. However, the court ruled that Eskom was allowed to go ahead with the process.

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Engie, (formerly GDF Suez) might pull out of UK nuclear power plan at Moorside in Cumbria

scrutiny-on-costsflag-UKMoorside   NuClear News No 91, Jan 2017  Unfortunately for nuclear supporters utilities in the UK are, like PGE, beginning to realise that the old utility model is dying. Engie, formerly GDF Suez, which owns 40% of NuGen, the Company which wants to build three new nuclear reactors at Moorside in Cumbria, next to Sellafield, is fully aware that “the future is going to be much more about decentralized energy”. The company is roughly one third owned by the French Government, and is the parent company of the Belgian utility, Electrabel, which operates all seven of Belgium’s nuclear reactors. But it is now trying to abandon its new reactor projects in Turkey and England because it no longer has the resources to finance such expensive projects. (8)

The Chief Executive of Engie UK, Wilfrid Petrie, says “It’s very difficult today to build a new power plant [in the UK] with current market conditions”. Instead, the Company offers localised services that could include installing insulation, district heating and solar panels on existing buildings as well as supplying gas and electricity. “We see the emergence of a new type of organisation within cities,” he says. Engie, he believes, can build on its relationships with councils and other commercial customers to expand its British business by developing local, decentralised energy in urban areas, where demand is high. “We don’t want to sell a huge amount of energy. Our big focus is on the demand side. The future is going to be much more about decentralized energy,” he says. (9)

If Engie does pull out of the NuGen consortium it will make it even harder to finance the construction of three new reactors at Moorside. NuGen has already told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that it is hoping that certain non-nuclear elements of the project might be paid for by the UK Government. Despite casting its net far and wide in an attempt to drum up the required finance the consortium is clearly struggling to attract support. Hoping that the taxpayer will rescue the project, NuGen’s CEO Tom Samson told the House of Lords that one non-nuclear element of the project has been identified by the consortium as the seawater system required to cool Moorside’s reactors. Samson hopes that major ‘civil works’ such as the removal of excavation spoil, could also qualify for Government largesse. There’s also a suggestion there might be Government assistance to improve the transport infrastructure of Cumbria. The very notion that the Treasury should ride to the rescue when hospital and community services in West Cumbria are being increasingly starved of Government support is not going down too well in some quarters. (10) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo91.pdf

December 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Confusion in , and opposition to, Bradwell’s Chinese-built nuclear plant plans

questionflag-UKBradwell Notes NuClear News No 91, Jan 2017 Maldon District and Essex County Council are paving the way for Bradwell’s Chinese-built nuclear plant by offering free Mandarin lessons to councillors. Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), said “it may be that neither council possesses expertise in understanding what is proposed. And learning Mandarin will not compensate for that.” (1)

BANNG has been opposing new nuclear development at Bradwell for the last 8 years, on the grounds that the low-lying site is totally unsuitable for such development and, now, also because of concerns, shared with others, regarding security issues and Chinese involvement in such sensitive UK infrastructure. Professor Andy Blowers said: “There is a long process ahead before any new nuclear power station can be built at Bradwell. The rigorous Generic Design Assessment has not yet commenced and then there will be a planning process in which Maldon District and Essex County Councils will be consultees. By celebrating in any way, the County Council potentially compromises its disinterested role as a consulted planning authority. The suggestion that there is something to celebrate could give the impression that a new Chinese power station will simply be waved through”. (2)

Meanwhile the NDA’s policy of spreading nuclear waste around the country to save money continues. Essex County Council has voted to lift restrictions imposed only 4 years ago and to allow Magnox, operators of the Bradwell site, to transfer Intermediate-Level Waste (ILW) from Dungeness and Sizewell to the Bradwell Interim Storage Facility (ISF). The restriction had decreed that only Bradwell-generated waste could be stored there. Bradwell will now become a regional nuclear waste store for the indefinite future and a precedent for the import of further wastes may have been set. The planning approval means that the long-held principle of selfsufficiency, whereby each site hosts its own wastes, is contravened. (3)

In a surprise move EDF and Chinese nuclear company CGN have consulted Mersea Island residents over the proposed new nuclear power station at Bradwell. The previous official position was that Mersea Island was in the wrong planning area (despite being much closer to and directly downwind from the site). If people want to share their views on the project they can do so via the website: http://www.bradwellb.co.uk (4)

Sizewell C EDF Energy has launched its stage2 public consultation on the proposals for two EPRs to be built at Sizewell. The consultation is open until 3 February 2017. (1)

Community leaders who met to discuss the proposals agreed that the developers need to offer a better deal for Suffolk. Nearly 80 town and parish representatives along with members of the Joint Local Authority Group (JLAG) concluded that EDF Energy’s stage two consultation for Sizewell C has failed to make enough progress from its proposals four years ago. The key concerns raised at the summit focussed on the proposed accommodation campus, whose location near Therberton is feared to lack the required infrastructure to transport up to 2,400 workers to and from the construction site. Other issues included EDF’s alleged failure to “fully understand the communities of east Suffolk” and their concerns. The summit also heard that EDF’s proposals to have 35 metre high “spoil heaps” would have a significant impact on those living and visiting the area and it was not yet clear what mitigation would be provided. Transport routes for construction material were also said to be unclear, with EDF urged to provide more detail about how much would be brought in by road, sea and rail. (2) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo91.pdf

December 17, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Germany’s parliament approves nuclear waste deal with industry

Bundestag approves nuclear waste deal with industry, DW, 15 Dec 16  An overwhelming majority in Germany’s parliament has given the go-ahead for a reponsibility-splitting deal to clean up nuclear waste. It’s the final chapter in a decades-long story. The deal will require four of Germany’s largest energy providers to pay more than 23 billion euros ($24.1 billion) into a state-administered fund to deal with the aftermath of nuclear power in return for legal immunity. The deal was passed with the votes of the ruling coalition of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party by a margin of 581 to 58.

The agreement is the latest step in Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear energy, which was made after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Addressing the Bundestag before the vote, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel harkened back to the beginnings of the “no-nukes” movement among private citizens in Denmark, Germany and other parts of Europe in the mid-1970s.

“The stickers with the picture of the sun laughing became a symbol for a successful energy policy,” Gabriel said, promising that Germany would safely dispose of nuclear waste rather than simply exporting it to other parts of the world……..

Under the terms of the deal, power companies will only bear part of the costs of the clean-up. The German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin (DIW) estimates that the bill for the decades-long nuclear phase-out could reach 170 billion euros ($178 billion).

“The actual costs will be a lot more than the estimates,” DIW Energy Division Director Claudia Kemfert told Deutsche Welle in October, when the details of the arrangement were hammered out. “So the deal only covers a fraction of the actual costs, and society will have to pick up the rest.”

Kemfert said that the power companies had gotten a “free pass,” a sentiment echoed in parliament by the Left Party, which voted against the deal.

“The companies are being released from responsibility with a golden handshake,” said Left Party energy spokeswoman Eva Bulling-Schröter.”The costs are going to go up.”

The issue of lawsuits filed by energy companies against the German government’s nuclear phase-out has yet to be fully resolved. The government will now begin negotiations aimed at ending the various legal actions in return for the clean-up compromise. http://www.dw.com/en/bundestag-approves-nuclear-waste-deal-with-industry/a-36775793

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Germany, politics | Leave a comment

B-52 nuclear bomber disasters

exclamation-In 1968, a B-52 Bomber Crashed (With 4 Super Lethal Nuclear Weapons Onboard That ‘Exploded’) The National Interest,  Matthew Gault December 15, 2016 Throughout the 1950s and ’60s American bombers carrying nuclear weapons crisscrossed the globe, ready at a moment’s notice to fly into the heart of Russia and bomb it back to the stone age. Strategic Air Command — a now defunct branch of the U.S. Air Force — commanded this airborne alert force.

It was once the pride of the American military. For more than a decade, SAC bombers were no more than 15 minutes from nuking Russia. But the shifts on the bombers were long — sometimes more than 24 hours — and keeping such an alert force ready was taxing on pilots and crew.

There were many accidents.

In 1958, a B-47 carrying a nuke collided with an F-86 Sabre in the skies above Savannah, Georgia. The B-47 jettisoned its nuclear payload into the Atlantic Ocean. Authorities never recovered the bomb.

Months later, another B-47 dropped its nuke over South Carolina when a bomb technician aboard accidentally activated the emergency release. The bomb’s conventional explosives detonated and destroyed a nearby house.

 In 1966, a B-52 crashed in Spain, spilling the nuclear guts of two bombs onto nearby farms. After the accident, Spain halted nuclear-armed American planes from passing through its air space.

Those were bad, but SAC and its airborne alert survived them. Then, in 1968, a B-52 crashed near Thule Monitoring Station in Greenland and spilled its payload all over the ice. It was one disaster too many, and it signaled the end of America’s airborne alert program … and Strategic Air Command’s prestige……..

The Arctic’s climate is harsh and the radar station was fragile. Outages were frequent, and SAC needed redundancy to ensure that it didn’t attack Moscow just because it lost contact with Thule.

So SAC did what it always did. It strapped some nukes on a bomber. The air command sent one of its airborne alert bombers — complete with live nukes — to fly above the Thule monitoring station 24 hours a day … forever.

It seemed silly to keep live nukes in the air above the world’s head all day, every day. It was a sword of Damocles and it dropped in 1968.

On Jan. 21, 1968, fire swept through the cabin of the airborne B-52 watching Thule station. Smoke and flames consumed the plane and the seven crew members ejected. Six survived. The bomber crashed into an ice cap in the bay near the base.

The conventional explosives in the plane’s four hydrogen bombs exploded and cracked their nuclear payloads. Radioactive elements slid out of the bombs and onto the ice.

SAC’s Operation Chrome Dome was already on its last legs. The Thule accident just confirmed what many politicians and military leader already thought — keeping a fleet of nuclear-armed bombers in the air at all times was dangerous and insane……….

Only one of the B-52’s crew died during the Thule disaster, but his death wasn’t the end of the tragedy. The hydrogen bombs spread jet fuel and radioactive materials across the ice cap. It busted up the flow of the sea, blackened the ice and spread plutonium, uranium, americium and tritium into the ice and water……..

the Danish workers who helped clean up the site are dying of cancer. Crested Ice was a rush job done under pressure from the international community, and its leadership cut corners. American and Danish workers didn’t have the protective gear they needed to work with the radioactive materials.

The Danes tried to sue the United States for compensation and 1987, but failed. In 1995, Copenhagen paid a settlement to 1,700 members of the crew. Crested Ice, the plight of its workers and the possibility that America left contaminated material behind is a recurring story in the Danish press to this day……..This first appeared in WarIsBoring here.    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/1968-b-52-bomber-crashed-4-super-lethal-nuclear-weapons-18746

December 17, 2016 Posted by | history, incidents, Reference, USA | 1 Comment