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All Fukushima seafood samples pass safety tests for radioactivity


Fish caught during test fishing operations are sold at the Iwaki City Central Wholesale Market on Jan. 13. (Kazumasa Sugimura)


IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture–For the first time, radioactivity levels were lower than the government’s safety limit in every seafood sample caught off Fukushima Prefecture for an entire year, officials said.

The Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station said 8,502 fish and shellfish samples were tested in 2016, and all recorded radioactivity readings under the safety standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram.

Ninety-five percent of them tested below the detection limit of around 15 becquerels per kilogram.

It was also the first time more than 90 percent of samples were below the detection threshold since the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant started in March 2011, according to the officials.

People in the local fishing industry hope the numbers will help lead to a return to normal operations, although they say it is difficult to gauge the impact of harmful rumors about Fukushima seafood because prices depend on multiple factors, including quantity and quality.

Test fishing is, after all, test fishing,” said Yuji Kanari, a managing director with seafood wholesaler Iwaki Gyorui KK. “Turning that into full fishing operations like before (the disaster) will emerge as a major challenge this year.

I hope that local consumption of locally produced goods that was disrupted by the nuclear disaster will soon be back.”

The hauls from test fishing, which began in June 2012, have grown from year to year.

Preliminary figures show last year’s catch at 2,072 tons, up 560 tons from 2015, but still only 7.9 percent of the annual catch of 26,050 tons averaged over the decade preceding the 2011 disaster.

Ninety-four species are eligible for this year’s test fishing, which the Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative association started on Jan. 10 and the Iwaki city fisheries cooperative association began on Jan. 12.



February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Gov’t plan to cut back radiation tests on produce draws mixed reactions



The national government suggested it would scale back radiation tests on produce from Tokyo and 16 other prefectures affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, at a citizen-oriented event in Tokyo on Feb. 2, drawing mixed reactions from those in attendance.
A draft policy was put together by government bodies including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Consumer Affairs Agency and calls for allowing reduction of the tests from the 2017 fiscal year. The plan was influenced by the fact that there are now almost no cases of agricultural products that exceed the regulatory limit for radioactive cesium of 100 becquerels per kilogram. Under the draft policy, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government or any of the affected prefectural governments whose agricultural products were at half or less of the limit for the past three years could choose to scale back their tests.

Representatives from consumer groups and Fukushima producers were present at the Feb. 2 meeting. There were many voices of opposition against the draft policy, saying it was too early to cut back the tests, or that the requirement for scaling them back should be stricter than half or less of the regulatory limit. On the other hand, another attendee said that over the last five years the tests had cost around 4 billion yen and the money should “be spent toward more meaningful goals.”

According to the testing results from fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2015, during the first two years the percentage of products like vegetables, fruits, tubers and meats from these areas with radioactive cesium in excess of the regulatory limit was between 0.1 percent and 5.9 percent, but since 2013 no excessive radiation has been detected.

The central government plans to hold an event to exchange ideas on the matter on Feb. 17 and get a better understanding of public opinion, before deciding on whether to actually downsize the testing.



February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima radiation levels at highest level since 2011

Fukushima radiation levels at highest level since 2011 meltdown


Cranes over the Fukushima Daiichi plant in February 2016. The decommissioning process is expected to take about four decades


Extraordinary readings pile pressure on operator Tepco in its efforts to decommission nuclear power station

Radiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago.

The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.

The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades.

The recent reading, described by some experts as “unimaginable”, is far higher than the previous record of 73 sieverts an hour in that part of the reactor.

A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks.

Tepco also said image analysis had revealed a hole in metal grating beneath the same reactor’s pressure vessel. The one-metre-wide hole was probably created by nuclear fuel that melted and then penetrated the vessel after the tsunami knocked out Fukushima Daiichi’s back-up cooling system.

It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage,” Tepco’s spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi told AFP.

We believe the captured images offer very useful information, but we still need to investigate given that it is very difficult to assume the actual condition inside.”

The presence of dangerously high radiation will complicate efforts to safely dismantle the plant.

A remote-controlled robot that Tepco intends to send into the No 2 reactor’s containment vessel is designed to withstand exposure to a total of 1,000 sieverts, meaning it would survive for less than two hours before malfunctioning.

The firm said radiation was not leaking outside the reactor, adding that the robot would still prove useful since it would move from one spot to the other and encounter radiation of varying levels.

Tepco and its network of partner companies at Fukushima Daiichi have yet to identify the location and condition of melted fuel in the three most seriously damaged reactors. Removing it safely represents a challenge unprecedented in the history of nuclear power.

Quantities of melted fuel are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the damaged reactors’ containment vessels, but dangerously high radiation has prevented engineers from accurately gauging the state of the fuel deposits.

Earlier this week, the utility released images of dark lumps found beneath reactor No 2 that it believes could be melted uranium fuel rods – the first such discovery since the disaster.

In December, the government said the estimated cost of decommissioning the plant and decontaminating the surrounding area, as well as paying compensation and storing radioactive waste, had risen to 21.5tn yen (£150bn), nearly double an estimate released in 2013.

Radiation level in Fukushima reactor could kill within a minute

feb 3 2017.jpg

Images show black lumps on grating for maintenance work below the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. TEPCO says melted fuel likely caused at least two holes in the metal grating, including an opening measuring 1 meter by 1 meter. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)


Radiation levels that can kill a person in a minute and holes created by melted nuclear fuel could further delay decommissioning operations at the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled plant, said Feb. 2 that the maximum estimated radiation level near what is believed to be melted fuel in the reactor was 530 sieverts per hour, the highest so far since the triple meltdown in 2011.

In its investigation into the interior of the No. 2 reactor, TEPCO also confirmed at least two holes on grating for maintenance work below the bottom of the reactor’s pressure vessel.

feb 3 2017 2.jpg

The images show the area at the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel to the metal grating below.


The holes were likely made when the melted nuclear fuel fell from the pressure vessel and melted the grating,” a TEPCO official said.

The findings were made by studying images taken from a video camera attached to a pipe that was inserted into the reactor on Jan. 30.

feb 3 2017 3.jpg


Radiation levels were estimated at 20 sieverts per hour, 50 sieverts per hour and 530 sieverts per hour at three spots inside the reactor’s containment vessel.

The company estimated the doses from the extent of disturbances in the images caused by radiation.

Although a TEPCO official said “there is a margin of error because radiation levels were not measured directly,” the company believes the scattered melted nuclear fuel inside the containment vessel was emitting high levels of radiation.

After a number of failed attempts, the remote-controlled camera took the first pictures of possible melted fuel at the plant.

However, closer inspection of the images have revealed additional problems for TEPCO, which had believed most of the melted fuel had remained inside the reactor’s pressure vessel.

TEPCO plans to send an investigative robot, called Sasori (scorpion), into the containment vessel this month to more accurately measure radiation doses at various spots and take additional footage of the scattered nuclear fuel.

The utility plans to use the data to determine a fuel-removal method.

But the robot was expected to use the circular grating, measuring 5 meters in diameter, to move around. One of the holes is 1 meter by 1 meter, a potential pitfall for the robot, which is 59 centimeters long and 9 cm high.

TEPCO said it will consider a different route for the robot in its survey.

Fumiya Tanabe, an expert on nuclear safety who analyzed the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the United States, said the findings show that both the preparation for and the actual decommissioning process at the plant will likely prove much more difficult than expected.

We have few clues on the exact locations, the sizes and the shapes of the nuclear fuel debris,” he said. “The planned investigation by the robot needs a rethink. Work to decommission the plant will require even more time.”

TEPCO said it will need 30 to 40 years to complete the decommissioning process. The utility plans to start work to remove the melted nuclear fuel at the No. 2 and two other stricken reactors in 2021 after deciding on a removal method in fiscal 2018.

TEPCO has yet to determine the location and the condition of the melted fuel in the other two reactors.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to probe Fukushima reactor again to confirm nuclear debris



An executive of the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex said Friday the company plans to probe inside the plant’s No. 2 reactor by the end of February to confirm whether the black mass spotted in a recent survey was nuclear debris.

Naohiro Masuda, the chief decommissioning officer at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. told Kyodo News it is “possible” to conduct the probe using a robot, the day after the operator announced it had detected extraordinarily high radiation levels inside the reactor.

The operator will be able to tell whether the deposits are nuclear debris from the March 2011 meltdown if new images and data such as the radiation levels and temperatures are obtained in the upcoming robot survey, he said.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radiation in Fukushima reactor containment vessel at deadly level: TEPCO


Radiation inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant measures as high as a deadly 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the 2011 disaster, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Feb. 2.
TEPCO calculated the radiation dose from video noise on footage it took inside the containment vessel in late January, when a camera was inserted to examine conditions inside and scout a route for a scorpion-like observation robot scheduled to go into the vessel later this month.

Deployment of the robot is also being reconsidered after two gaping holes were found along the robot’s planned path over a 5-meter-wide circular walkway inside the containment vessel, close to where the 530-sievert radiation dose was detected.

feb 3 2017 scorpio.jpg

A scorpion-like observation robot scheduled to go into the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The holes in the metal grate walkway — one of unknown size and the other measuring about 1 meter square — make both routes considered for the robot impassable.

“We will consider re-evaluating what observations we can take with the robot,” Yuichi Okamura, an acting general manager with TEPCO’s on-site nuclear power division, told reporters at a Feb. 2 news conference.

Piles of a black and dark brown substance several centimeters thick and thought to be melted nuclear fuel were also observed on the walkway, creating a further possible obstruction to the robot. Meanwhile, examination of the 1-meter-square hole suggests the walkway was struck with tremendous force, hinting that there may be a large amount of melted fuel below.

“It is possible that the nuclear fuel rods melted onto the control rods and then dripped down,” Tokyo Institute of Technology professor of nuclear engineering Yoshinao Kobayashi told the Mainichi Shimbun. “It’s highly likely that part of the bottom of the pressure vessel broke and the melted fuel flowed down (onto the walkway), and then the grating warped and gave way due to the fuel’s heat.”

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

February 3 Energy News



¶ “Not just Toshiba – the global nuclear industry is in crisis everywhere” • The collapse of Toshiba, the direct result of its failing nuclear ventures, is indicative of a crisis faced by nuclear contractors and utilities worldwide. Another sign of the poor outlook for the industry: no major commodity had a worse 2016 than uranium. [The Ecologist]

The Moorside nuclear complex (Image: Nugen) Moorside nuclear complex (Image: Nugen)

Science and Technology:

¶ As the global climate heats up, so do Alaskan ocean waters, meaning big changes for marine ecosystems and bad news for some species. Scientists gathered in Anchorage last week for the Alaska Marine Science Symposium to review new research probing those changes and what may be ongoing shifts in the marine ecosystem. [Homer Tribune]


¶ A new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit has concluded that Europe’s coal consumption has been in long-term decline, and the region’s…

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February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Indian Point Nuclear Plant Closure Leaves Locals Scrambling To Deal With ‘Major Economic Loss’

Jared Anderson

The local communities that will be most impacted when the Indian Point nuclear power plant closes in five years have been left with few answers regarding several critical issues including tax stabilization, job losses and environmental concerns. The Town of Cortlandt and local villages were blindsided by last month’s announcement that the plant would close more than a decade earlier than planned, and NY Governor Cuomo’s office has yet to present an action plan to address detrimental impacts to residents and businesses.

Town of Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi and Hendrick Hudson School District Superintendent Joe Hochreiter have expressed continued disappointment at not being given advanced notice about losing the largest tax payer in the area. “The Entergy [plant owner] CEO just told us that they needed to keep it confidential, not an adequate response to us since we are the main stakeholders,” Ms. Puglisi said in a statement.

Indian Point has the capacity to generate about 2,000 megawatts of electricity – about 25% of the power consumed by New York City and Westchester County – and employs 1,200 permanent workers, along with hundreds of contractors and part-time employees. The loss of these jobs will have knock-on effects for local businesses.

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February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lasting Effects of Pope Francis’ #ClimateChange Edict #auspol 


The Lasting Effects of Pope Francis’ Climate Change Edict
New research finds thinking about the pontiff changes the way we frame the issue.
By Tom Jacobs

(Photo: Gregorio Borgia/AFP/Getty Images)

Last fall, a study reported that Pope Francis’ much-discussed encyclical on climate change largely fell on deaf ears. Researchers from Texas Tech University found the appeal “failed to rally any broad support on climate change” among Americans, whether or not they were Catholic.
But newly published research suggests the pontiff’s call for taking care of the Earth has had a more subtle impact on American public opinion. It finds brief exposure to a photograph of the pope “increased perceptions of climate change as a moral issue.”

What’s more, this shift in how the issue is perceived was particularly strong among Republicans — a group that has traditionally been resistant to acknowledging the fact that humans are affecting the Earth’s climate in dangerous…

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February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Antarctic Sea Ice Likely to Hit New All-Time Record Lows Over Coming Days


Throughout the record global heat of 2016 and on into 2017, the world’s sea ice has taken a merciless pounding.

In the Northern Hemisphere, extreme warming of the polar region pushed Arctic sea ice extents to record low daily ranges throughout the winter, spring and fall of 2016. And even today, after many months of daily record lows, sea ice in the Arctic remains more reduced (in most measures) than it has ever been for this time of year.

On the other side of the world, the story is much the same. For it now appears that the ocean region around Antarctica is about to experience an all-time record annual low for sea ice:


(JAXA Antarctic sea ice measure for all years since 1978 shows a strong challenge to the previous record low for extent set in 1997 [lower left hand corner of the graph]. With 2-4…

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February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Toshiba to withdraw from Indian nuclear projects! India nuke lobby and Government says “NO COMMENT”


Toshiba – OUT OF INDIA
In India, Westinghouse has also been in talks with state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India about a contract to build six AP1000s, a project strongly backed by both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former US President Barack Obama.

The three sources said that was now almost impossible.

“The Indian government was happy to have one sole counterpart, but this cannot continue,” the first source said, adding that either an Indian civil engineering group or a foreign, possibly American, group would have to step in to negotiate, oversee and eventually finance the project.

Westinghouse would instead just provide nuclear equipment, the source said.

Representatives for India’s state-run nuclear body and the Ministry of External Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Westinghouse has traditionally been a builder of nuclear reactors, not entire nuclear power plants including steam turbines, generators and transformers.

But as tightening safety regulations following Fukushima made building nuclear plants more expensive, nuclear reactor builders and their shareholders have been increasingly forced to take on the civil engineering side too.

The source said Westinghouse will return to its roots as a nuclear specialist, while Toshiba will stop taking on projects to build entire nuclear plants just so that Westinghouse can sell its AP1000 reactors.

“Toshiba will withdraw from being a general contractor for nuclear plants,” the source said.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hitachi to take a 70 billion yen hit after U.S nuclear project fails

The nuke biz is going down like dominoes. Hitachi announces a nearly $6.2 billion loss on its U.S. uranium enrichment joint effort with GE.


Electronics giant Hitachi Ltd. is set to lose tens of billions of yen this fiscal year due to the withdrawal from a project to develop a new method of uranium enrichment by a joint venture in the United States.

The loss, forecast by Hitachi on Feb. 1, was disclosed shortly after Toshiba Corp. made a similar announcement last month of deficits brought on by its nuclear power business.

Hitachi is expected to report a 70 billion yen ($620 million) non-operating loss by the time books are closed for fiscal 2016 at the end of March, said Mitsuaki Nishiyama, a senior vice president of the Tokyo-based conglomerate, in a news conference on the company’s performance through the third quarter.

The deficit is largely attributed to the joint venture GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc. withdrawing from the uranium enrichment project. Due to this decision, Hitachi no longer expects any profits from the North Carolina-based company, of which it owns 40 percent and the rest by General Electric.

After allocating the losses, the value of Hitachi’s share of the joint venture comes to only about 11 billion yen.

Despite the gloomy news, Nishiyama said that “there are no more large deficit risks.”

Hitachi and GE were expecting more nuclear power plants to be built when they launched the joint fuel enrichment business, but orders have been sluggish across the globe, forcing the project to be shelved.

Nevertheless, Hitachi will be sticking with its nuclear power business. The company said that it plans to proceed with its project to build a plant in Britain by ensuring costs are thoroughly managed.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | 3 Comments

Cameco to lose $1.3bn as Japan’s TEPCO cancels uranium contract

The writing is on the wall. Ban uranium mining now: “Tepco’s termination of the contract would affect about 9.3 million pounds of uranium deliveries through 2028, worth about $1.3 billion in revenue.”


Cigar Lake, in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, is the world’s highest-grade uranium mine.

Uranium miner Cameco (TSX:CCO; NYSE:CCJ) is weighing its options after a key Japanese customer attempted to cancel its contract, which would mean $1.3 billion in lost revenue for the Canadian company.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, issued a termination notice for a uranium supply contract on Jan. 24 and, earlier this week, it said it would not accept a delivery that was scheduled for Feb.1.

Such contract cancellation would affect about 9.3 million pounds of uranium deliveries through 2028, including about 855,000 pounds annually in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Cameco said.

Shares collapsed on the news. They were trading down 12.5% to Cdn$14.50 in Toronto at 1:00 pm, and 13.3% down in New York to $11.06 at 1:26 pm ET.

Cameco said the Japanese power company has cited forces beyond its control — specifically government regulations arising from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident — that have prevented the operation of its nuclear plants.

The Canadian firm insisted that there’s no basis for terminating the contract and considers TEPCO to be in default. It said it will pursue its rights — including binding arbitration.

We are surprised and disappointed that TEPCO is seeking to terminate its contract given all the past productive discussions we have had to date,” Cameco’s president and CEO Tim Gitzel said in the statement.

The company noted it has sufficient financial capacity to manage any loss of revenue in 2017 as a result of the dispute.

Including income coming from TEPCO, Cameco expects 2017 earnings will range between $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion. More information on the uranium miner’s financial position will be released next week.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | 1 Comment

New Details About Uranium Chemistry Show How It Binds to Organic Matter

Decades after a uranium mine is shuttered, the radioactive element can still persist in groundwater at the site, despite cleanup efforts.

February 2, 2017

A recent study led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory helps describe how the contaminant cycles through the environment at former uranium mining sites and why it can be difficult to remove. Contrary to assumptions that have been used for modeling uranium behavior, researchers found the contaminant binds to organic matter in sediments. The findings provide more accurate information for monitoring and remediation at the sites.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2014, researchers at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) began collaborating with the DOE Office of Legacy Management, which handles contaminated sites associated with the legacy of DOE’s nuclear energy and weapons production activities. Through projects associated with the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act, the DOE remediated 22 sites in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico where uranium had been extracted and processed during the 1940s to 1970s.

Uranium was removed from the sites as part of the cleanup process, and the former mines and waste piles were capped more than two decades ago. Remaining uranium deep in the subsurface under the capped waste piles was expected to leave these sites due to natural groundwater flow. However, uranium has persisted at elevated levels in nearby groundwater much longer than predicted by scientific modeling.

In an earlier study, the SLAC team discovered that uranium accumulates in the low-oxygen sediments near one of the waste sites in the upper Colorado River basin. These deposits contain high levels of organic matter—such as plant debris and bacterial communities.

During this latest study, the researchers found the dominant form of uranium in the sediments, known as tetravalent uranium, binds to organic matter and clays in the sediments. This makes it more likely to persist at the sites. The result conflicted with current models used to predict movement and longevity of uranium in sediments, which assumed that it formed an insoluble mineral called uraninite.

Different chemical forms of the element vary widely in how mobile they are—how readily they move around—in water, says Sharon Bone, lead author on the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at SSRL, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Since the uranium is bound to organic matter in sediments, it is immobile under certain conditions. Tetravalent uranium may become mobile when the water table drops and oxygen from the air enters spaces in the sediment that were formerly filled with water, particularly if the uranium is bound to organic matter in sediments rather than being stored in insoluble minerals.

“Either you want the uranium to be soluble and completely flushed out by the groundwater, or you just want the uranium to remain in the sediments and stay out of the groundwater,” Bone says. “But under fluctuating seasonal conditions, neither happens completely.”

This cycling in the aquifer may result in the persistent plumes of uranium contamination found in groundwater, something that wasn’t captured by earlier modeling efforts.

“For the most part, uranium contamination has only been looked at in very simple model systems in laboratories,” Bone says. “One big advancement is that we are now looking at uranium in its native environmental form in sediments. These dynamics are complicated, and this research will allow us to make field-relevant modeling predictions.”

The study combined the expertise of researchers at SLAC, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Canadian Light Source. The research team used a blend of techniques to analyze samples of sediments in the experiment. They performed X-ray spectroscopy at SSRL to identify the chemical form of uranium. Capabilities at the Canadian Light Source and at the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory (EMSL) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were used to map the locations of the elements in the samples at the nanometer scale. This additional information allowed the researchers to determine whether or not the uranium was bound to carbon-containing, or organic, materials. SSRL and EMSL are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

The DOE Office of Science funded the project.

Citation: Bone et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 09 January 2017 (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1611918114)

For questions or comments, contact the SLAC Office of Communications at

SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, Calif., SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hungary hoping EU Energy fund tender legislation doesnt stop deal of the century with Russia!


03 February 2017

Russia is prepared to provide all of the funding required for Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant expansion project, President Vladimir Putin told journalists in Budapest yesterday, following talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. A transcript of the press briefing was posted on the Russian presidential website.

An inter-governmental agreement signed in early 2014 would see Russian enterprises and their international sub-contractors supply two new units at Paks – VVER-1200 reactors – as well as a Russian state loan of up to €10.0 billion ($11.2 billion) to finance 80% of the project.

“The project costs €12 billion, 80% of which was supposed to come from a Russian loan. I apprised the prime minister of other options. We are prepared to finance 100% of it, but then the terms and conditions of the agreement should be slightly different. We can do this as well,” Putin said, according to the transcript.

The project will create 10,000 “new well-paid high-tech jobs”, he said, adding it would improve Hungary’s energy security and help grow its economy.

Russia places “great importance”, he said, on the Paks II construction project, which is being managed by state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Paks currently comprises four Russian-supplied VVER-440 pressurized water reactors, which started up between 1982 and 1987.

The existing Paks plant “has been operating for a long time in Hungary”, he said, “and today produces close to 40% of all electricity produced in that country”.

The launch of the two new units will “make it possible to double electricity production and satisfy the demand for electricity that is essential in order to develop new production facilities in Hungary”, he added.

The European Commission cleared Hungary’s award of a contract to Rosatom to build the two new units at Paks in November last year. It had been examining until recently two matters related to Paks II – procurement and whether funding of the project amounts to state aid. On 17 November, it closed the infringement procedure it had launched against Hungary over public procurement rules in connection with the project, but it is still investigating whether there is state aid.

Orban referred to the remaining EU approval required for the project.

“One issue remains open and we are waiting for an EU decision on it. We are convinced that our agreements are fully in compliance with EU requirements and we very much hope that this year we will be able to begin preparations and go ahead with construction in 2018,” he said.

“We are waiting for the construction work to finally begin, because what kind of nuclear power station is it that everyone is talking about but no one has seen? They haven’t even dug the first hole yet. We are waiting for work to start.”

But Orban also said that a review of the 2014 intergovernmental agreement “is not currently on the agenda”.

He added: “We want to go ahead with what President Putin and I signed previously.”

Project company MVM Paks II received an environmental licence in late September and in October submitted a site licence application for the two new units.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France’s trump card to win SA’s nuclear deal

Pretoria – France has a “trump card” up its sleeve to help South Africa afford the planned giant nuclear power plant project – and therefore to help France win the bid.

Visiting French Minister of Economy and Finance Michel Sapin met his SA counterpart Pravin Gordhan on Friday.

He explained to Gordhan that “France has the capacity to finance and bring guarantees to the financing of this [nuclear] project.”

Sapin was asked at a press conference if Gordhan had told him that the fleet of reactors – which could be as many as six and could cost at least one trillion rand – was affordable.

Gordhan is believed to have strong reservations about the affordability of the project and this is thought to be a major bone of contention between him and President Jacob Zuma.

Sapin said it was legitimate that the SA government was asking questions about the affordability of the project. But if one assessed electricity consumption in the country it was clear there would be a need for more electricity in coming years.

The SA government had told him several companies had the capacity to answer the government’s “request for information” and its “request for proposals” to build the power plants.

He said he had reminded the SA government of the quality and the know-how of the French companies in nuclear energy sector.

“I  explained to the minister that France has the capacity to finance and bring guarantees to the financing of this project. There are several important aspects of the French offer, its technical quality and also the way the French offer will fit into the South African socio-economic balance, and how it will respond to the needs of South Africa.”

He added that he had asked Gordhan to maintain “full transparency on the process” with France.

“France is not afraid of competition and is not afraid of transparency. The best for South Africa should win. And we have trump cards up our sleeve to be able to meet those challenges.”

Sapin’s request to Gordhan seemed to refer to the persistent rumours in South Africa that Zuma had already given the nuclear contract to Russia and that his government is just going through the motions of requesting bids from other countries.

But Sapin said he believed the competition for the contract was still open and still at the very beginning and that it would be fair.

He also explained that the two French companies involved in the bid, EDF (Electricité de France) and Areva, who were working on the project together, had not yet responded to the SA government’s request for information because the deadline for doing so had not yet expired. “But they will. And they have the will to win the contest.”

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment