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France’s Next President Said to Face $3 Billion Nuclear Hangover

Francois de Beaupuy

February 3, 2017, 6:25 pm

http://www.bloombergquint.com/business/2017/02/03/france-s-next-president-said-to-face-3-billion-nuclear-hangover

(Bloomberg) — Whoever succeeds Francois Hollande as France’s president may find one of their first tasks in office will be selling off some of the nation’s prized assets to prop up the state’s nuclear industry.

That’s because the government is as much as 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) short of the 7.5 billion euros it has said it needs this year to fix the financial problems of Areva SA and Electricite de France SA, said two government officials with direct knowledge of the matter. Hollande will try to find an answer before he leaves office in June, one of the people said. If he can’t, his successor must decide how to plug the gap, said the other person.

France is preparing to rescue its nuclear industry after EDF was weakened by falling European power prices and Areva lost billions on a long-delayed project in Finland. The president must either increase the national debt or weigh politically sensitive privatizations of holdings in anything from automakers such as Renault SA to the former phone monopoly — a tall order with the first round of presidential elections just three months away.

“It’s not that simple to raise these funds, either because of market conditions or for strategic or social reasons,” said Senator Maurice Vincent, a member of the ruling Socialist Party who sits on the finance committee. “Half of the holdings are in the depressed energy sector which needs to be bailed out, and a quarter is in the defense sector where you have limited divestment leeway, so that doesn’t leave much wiggle room.”

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While the government has enough in its privatization account for the 3 billion-euro stimulus it plans for EDF this quarter, it remains almost 3 billion euros short of the 4.5 billion euros it wants to help its near-bankrupt reactor maker, Areva, complete its restructuring and meet debt repayments this year, said the officials. Areva shareholders on Friday voted in favor of a 5 billion-euro state-backed bailout, which includes 500 million euros from Japanese investors.

Energy Security

France depends on nuclear reactors for about three-quarters of its electricity, and the two state-controlled companies were supposed to be leading the charge to export the technology around the world. All three leading presidential candidates have said they will support the nuclear industry, at least in the medium term, as the best guarantee of energy security and a low-carbon future.

Hollande’s spokesman didn’t answer messages seeking comment for this story. Representatives of Francois Fillon, the Republican Party candidate, Socialist Benoit Hamon and Emmanuel Macron, an independent, also declined to comment.

Marine Le Pen of the National Front wouldn’t sell state assets but instead ask state-controlled Caisse des Depots et Consignations to invest in Areva, her economic adviser Bernard Monod said in a text message.

The winner of the election runoff due May 7 faces a difficult choice between increasing the national debt or selling stakes in public companies, valued at a total of about 90 billion euros. While the government owns a piece of everything from the postal service to carmakers Renault and PSA Group, manufacturer of Citroen and Peugeot, its privatization options are constrained by shareholder pacts, politics and the financial circumstances of some of the companies.

Those holdings include an 11 percent stake in aircraft maker Airbus, which can’t be reduced without ceding some control to Germany, and a 26 percent stake in defense company Thales SA, which is bound by a shareholders’ pact with Dassault Aviation.

Orange, Renault

Similarly the government has been reluctant to sell down its stake in former phone monopoly Orange SA and would face obstacles to selling shares in airplane-engine maker Safran SA because of a pending deal.

In its haste to raise money, the government sold a stake in energy group Engie SA for 1.14 billion euros last month when the shares were near an all-time low. The state retains about 29 percent of Engie, but now “is the worst moment to sell,” said Regis Turrini, who ran the agency that manages government holdings in public companies from 2014 to 2015.

Hollande had pledged to reduce the government holding in Renault SA to about 15 percent from 19.7 percent. However, Renault’s share price remains lower than when the president increased the government’s stake in 2015.

A potentially more lucrative sale would be a 13.7 percent stake in Peugeot, but Hollande, who came to the rescue of Peugeot by buying an 800 million-euro stake in 2014, is unlikely to abandon the carmaker to market forces just before an election. On a visit to a factory last month, he promised not to sell the shares.

“Choices made by the state are sometimes curious,” said Herve Mariton, a Republican party lawmaker who also sits on the finance committee. “It’s selling Engie shares at a very low level, and taking a doctrinaire stance on Peugeot, which is a good candidate for divestment.”

Bloomberg

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

US NUCLEAR MONITORING AGENCY FAILS TO TRACK RESULTS FROM $1 BILLION INVESTMENT

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[2/3/17]  SPUTNIK–  The US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is unable to quantify the results of $1 billion spent on projects to prevent nuclear proliferation during a four-year period ending in 2015, the General Accountability Office (GAO) said in an audit report on Friday.

The audit examined 88 projects in foreign countries, including 17 that resulted in transferring technology such as a uranium enrichment monitoring tool that is used in Iran, the report stated.

“By not consistently tracking and documenting technology transition and deployment outcomes, NNSA is unable to demonstrate the full results of its projects,” a press release explaining the report stated.

The audit also examined software used to analyze nuclear detonations, according to the report.

https://sputniknews.com/us/201702031050328095-us-nuclear-agency-investment/

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Japan’s post-tsunami recovery plan: tomatoes, fish and hula-dancing

Six years after the Fukushima disaster, local government is working with private firms in one Japanese city to rebuild its economy

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Tomatoes growing in Japan’s Wonder Farm as part of Iwaki City’s reconstruction efforts after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

It’s a cold January day in Iwaki City, 211km north of Tokyo. But here, in a balmy glasshouse, light and sunny, pop music is being piped in, and tonnes of tomatoes are ripening and being picked.

They’re not in the ground; they’re being grown from waist-high pots of coconut matting. These are no ordinary tomatoes. They are growing on Wonder Farm, an “integrated agricultural theme park”, run by Tomato Land Iwaki, which is part-funded by the local city council and the Fukushima prefecture.

But another of the Wonder Farm partners is train firm Japan Rail East, which sells the tomatoes via its own restaurants. Because these small red fruits are part of plans by the local city government and local businesses to reinvigorate the local Iwaki economy after the devastating impact of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor, a mere 50km up the coast.

After such a cataclysmic series of events, rebuilding an economy based on fishing, agriculture and tourism is not easy. It requires some innovative thinking. Luckily, that’s something with which this area is already familiar. Fifty years ago, another of its industries, coal mining, faced decline. Here in Iwaki City, the Joban coal mining company came up with a novel idea. It retrained coal miners’ daughters as hula dancers and created the Spa Resort Hawaiians, Japan’s first theme park, which from its opening in 1966 until the events of March 2011, attracted thousands of visitors a year to its array of pleasures, including golf, a huge swimming pool and hot springs centre, and, of course, hula dancing and fire knife displays.

We were driven by the need to survive,” explains Yukio Sakamoto, a director at the Joban coal mining company. “Yes, it was a radical change, but it was a success because everyone in the company focused on the plan. It wasn’t about knowledge or expertise, but mindset.” The idea faced considerable opposition: “People said coal miners should just dig coal. But we trained the daughters of coal miners as professional dancers.”

That kind of ingenuity has been called for even more since 2011 in this part of Japan. It’s been hard work for everyone involved to try and get visitors back to the region and to restart the market for local food and produce. The city government has worked with regional and national bodies to measure radioactivity levels in local produce, and the figures are publicly available. But rebuilding trust that food from Fukushima is safe has been slow. The local fish market may be open, but almost all its stock is from elsewhere in the country.

Still, at least it is open and Senzaka Yoshio, one of the officers at the La Mew Mew fish market, which was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, says visitor levels are now back up to 80% of the pre-disaster days.

Further along the quay from the fish market are more fish. Live ones, this time, in the spacious tanks of the Fukushima Aquarium. When the tsunami hit, this aquarium lost 90% of its creatures. It reopened just four months later, in July 2011, a feat possible, according to executive director Yoshitaka Abe, due to teamwork, local leadership and co-operation with other aquarium authorities, who sent specialists and volunteers to help with the reconstruction work.

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The Fukushima aquarium, which reopened just four months after the tsunami of March 2011.

For Sakamoto, at the Spa Resort Hawaiians, overcoming the 2011 disaster has been about local people. The resort has brought more than 9,500 jobs to the area. On the day of the earthquake, there were 617 guests in the hotel. All got safely home. But many employees lost family members and homes. “We continue our operation thinking about the people who suffered,” he says. “Our main idea was not to fire people because of the difficulty in the business, but to redeploy them.”

https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2017/feb/02/japan-fukushima-tsunami-tomatoes-fish-hula-dancing

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

Fukushima nuclear disaster: Worker sues Tepco over cancer

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The plaintiff helped build scaffolding to repair the damaged No 4 reactor at the Fukushima plant

 

A Japanese court has begun hearing the case of a man who developed leukaemia after working as a welder at the damaged Fukushima nuclear site.

The plaintiff, 42, is the first person to be recognised by labour authorities as having an illness linked to clean-up work at the plant.

He is suing Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the complex.

The nuclear site was hit by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, causing a triple meltdown.

It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. An exclusion zone remains in place around the site as thousands of workers continue clean-up efforts.

‘Expendable labourer’

The man, from Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture, was a welder for a sub-contractor.

He spent six months working at Genkai and Fukushima No 2 nuclear plants before moving to the quake-hit Fukushima No 1 plant, where he build scaffolding for repair work at the No 4 reactor building. His cumulative radiation exposure was 19.78 millisieverts.

This is lower than official limits – Japan currently allows workers at the damaged plant to accumulate a maximum of 100 millisieverts over five years. A dose of 100 millisieverts over a year is seen as enough to raise the risk of cancer.

But in October 2015, a health ministry panel ruled that the man’s illness was workplace-related and that he was eligible for compensation.

“While the causal link between his exposure to radiation and his illness is unclear, we certified him from the standpoint of worker compensation,” a health ministry official said at the time.

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There has been heated debate about the dangers of radiation from the plant

The man is now suing Tepco and the Kyushu Electric Power Company, which operated the Genkai plant, for JPY59m ($526,000, £417,000).

“I worked there [Fukushima No 1 plant] because of my ardent desire to help bring the disaster under control but I was treated as if I was a mere expendable labourer,” Kyodo news agency quoted him as saying.

“I want Tokyo Electric to thoroughly face up to its responsibility.”

When he filed the suit late last year, his lawyers said he had been “forced to undergo unnecessary radiation exposure because of the utilities’ slipshod on-site radiation management”.

Tepco and Kyushu Electric have asked the court to reject the suit, questioning the link between his radiation exposure and leukaemia, Kyodo reported.

Tens of thousands of workers have been employed at the Fukushima site since the disaster in March 2011. Late last year the government said estimates of clean-up costs had doubled to JPY21.5 trillion ($188bn, £150bn).

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38843691

Ex-worker during Fukushima disaster sues Tepco, Kyushu Electric over leukemia

A former nuclear worker who developed leukemia after combating the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis demanded ¥59 million (around $524,000) in damages from two utilities Thursday at his first trial hearing at the Tokyo District Court.

The 42-year-old man from Fukuoka Prefecture is the first person to be recognized by labor authorities as having an illness linked to workplace radiation exposure since the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The man-made disaster was triggered by the huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

I worked there because of my ardent desire to help bring the disaster under control but I was treated as if I was a mere expendable laborer,” the plaintiff said.

I want Tokyo Electric to thoroughly face up to its responsibility,” he said.

The defendants, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., which runs Fukushima No. 1, and Kyushu Electric Power Co., whose Genkai nuclear plant also employed the plaintiff, asked the court to reject the claim, questioning the connection between his radiation exposure and leukemia.

The man was engaged in welding operations at the Fukushima Nos. 1 and 2 plants and the Genkai complex in Saga Prefecture from October 2011 to December 2013. His exposure in operations subcontracted by the utilities consisted of at least 19.8 millisieverts, according to his written complaint.

The man was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in January 2014 and later went into depression. Both ailments are recognized as work-related illnesses by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

He said he has been unable to go back to work and is therefore seeking compensation from the utilities.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/02/national/crime-legal/ex-worker-fukushima-disaster-sues-tepco-kyushu-electric-leukemia/#.WJPQ-_LraM8

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

Record high fatal radiation levels, hole in reactor 2 detected

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Deadly radiation estimated inside reactor vessel

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says its latest estimation of the radiation level inside one of the reactors was extremely high and had the potential to be lethal to a human within a short period of time.

Tokyo Electric Power Company conducted an inspection inside the containment vessel of the plant’s No.2 reactor last month using a remote-controlled camera, as part of a survey to scrap the reactor.

An analysis of the images found that the radiation was up to 530 sieverts per hour at a concrete cylinder supporting the reactor.

The level is enough to be lethal to a human within a short period of time, despite a possible error margin of up to 30 percent.

A survey conducted 1 year after the nuclear accident at a different part inside the same containment vessel logged 73 sieverts per hour.

In the latest estimation inside the vessel, the area near its opening logged 50 sieverts per hour at maximum.

The operator officials say that there are no leaks of gas with radioactive substances from the containment vessel.

Officials suspect that fuel debris; a mixture of nuclear fuel and melted parts of the reactor’s facility, may be emitting strong radiation inside the vessel.

Some molten fuel penetrated the reactor’s bottom and has reached the containment vessel as fuel debris.

The company plans conduct further inspections with a robot. There is a risk that some parts of the grating where the robot will be moving may be damaged by the high heat of the molten fuel.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170202_31/

Record high fatal radiation levels, hole in reactor detected at crippled Fukushima nuclear facility

Record high radiation levels that’s lethal even after brief exposure have been detected at a damaged reactor at the Fukushima power plant in Japan. Specialists also found a hole, likely caused by melted nuclear fuel.

Radiation levels of up to 530 Sieverts per hour were detected inside an inactive Reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe, Japanese media reported on Thursday citing the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

A dose of about 8 Sieverts is considered incurable and fatal.

A hole of no less than one square meter in size has also been discovered beneath the reactor’s pressure vessel, TEPCO said. According to researchers, the apparent opening in the metal grating of one of three reactors that had melted down in 2011, is believed to be have been caused by melted nuclear fuel that fell through the vessel.

The iron scaffolding has a melting point of 1500 degrees, TEPCO said, explaining that there is a possibility the fuel debris has fallen onto it and burnt the hole. Such fuel debris have been discovered on equipment at the bottom of the pressure vessel just above the hole, it added.

The latest findings were released after a recent camera probe inside the reactor, TEPCO said. Using a remote-controlled camera fitted on a long pipe, scientists managed to get images of hard-to-reach places where residual nuclear material remained. The substance there is so toxic that even specially-made robots designed to probe the underwater depths beneath the power plant have previously crumbled and shut down.

However, TEPCO still plans to launch further more detailed assessments at the damaged nuclear facility with the help of self-propelled robots.

 

Earlier this week, hopes for a more efficient cleanup at Fukushima were high, as the plant operator announced a portion of nuclear fuel debris responsible for a lot of the lingering contamination from six years ago may have finally been found.

https://www.rt.com/news/376107-fukushima-record-radiation-level/

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

Up to 4.20µSv near the Fukushima Tetsuzan water dam

 

This short article is dedicated to a pro-nuke troll, whose alias is Octo.

Octo, should I indulge the reader, is usually present at the chat of the “Fukushima Diary” blog. He enjoys pushing his propaganda of how nuke is safe.

How Tepco is doing a terrific job at Fukushima Daiichi and is in total safety control of everything.

How radiation is now very low in Fukushima How the fish and seafood is now safe etc.

Everyone is believing his crap *cough*, but he, like all of the other bewildered, confused and baffled Japanese *experts? never gives up.

Watching this video, I am thinking about him and his continuous lies, and also all those other Japanese pro-nuke trolls that I encountered on internet in the past few years.

This video was shot last November 2016 South of Soma, it is the mountain trail to reach the Tetsuzan dam, a place approximately 20km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

 

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I think all those disinformation spinners paid by Tepco, Dentsu or Government, whose job is to spread lies about the Fukushima disaster on blogs, forums and Facebook, should all go living up there, as they claim it is now completely safe.

They should breath the good air from Fukushima, eat everyday very safe Fukushima rice and vegetables, and of course eat also plenty of safe fish and seafood, and drink plenty Fukushima safe water.

I would give them only one word of advice :

“Don’t forget to smile,

Smile a lot everywhere and everyday, so that the radiation won’t affect you.”

 

Special credit to the Fukuichi Citizen Radiation Monitoring Project

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

Hitachi to take big loss, after U.S nuclear project fails,

Hitachi to take a 70 billion yen hit after U.S nuclear project fails, Asahi Shimbun By SATOSHI SEII/ Staff Writer February 2, 2017 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……

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……http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702020042.html

February 3, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

New study for USA intelligence agencies: could he Russian and Chinese leadership could survive a nuclear attack

Atomic-Bomb-SmUS Congress orders review of Russian & Chinese leadership’s nuclear strike ‘survivability’ Rt.com 30 Jan, 2017 The US Congress has directed intelligence agencies and the Pentagon’s Strategic Command to evaluate the ‘survivability’ of Russian and Chinese leaders in the event of a nuclear strike on their aboveground and underground defense facilities.

The comprehensive study will be carried out by the US intelligence agencies as well as the Strategic Command, which is in charge of the American nuclear forces. They will evaluate whether the Russian and Chinese leadership could survive a nuclear attack and continue to operate in a post-strike environment, according to a little-reported section of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Read more
If we are in arms race, US started it by pulling out of ABM treaty – Putin

The review will include “an identification of which facilities  various senior political and military leaders of each respective country are expected to operate out of during crisis and wartime,” as well as the “location and description of above-ground and underground facilities important to the political and military leadership survivability.

“Key officials and organizations of each respective country involved in managing and operating such facilities, programs, and activities” should also be identified, says the document, which is somewhat reminiscent of an elaborate war plan.

“Our experts are drafting an appropriate response,” Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, spokesman for the Strategic Command, said in an email to Bloomberg on Monday. While “it’s premature to pass along any details at this point, we can update you further at a later date.”

Although the study was ordered before Donald Trump took office, it appears to coincide with his statement that he would unconditionally support strengthening US strategic arsenals. In an incendiary tweet in December, Trump wrote that Washington “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

Later in the month, Trump stunned arms control experts, reportedly telling Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ program: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

The remarks came despite Trump’s separate statement that he would consider a rapprochement with Moscow in response for a possible new deal on nuclear arms reduction……….  https://www.rt.com/news/375604-russia-china-nuclear-survivability/

February 3, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran tested ballistic missile, but did not breach nuclear agreement

flag-IranIran denies missile test breached nuclear deal, news.com.au 2 Feb 17  IRAN has confirmed that it had tested a ballistic missile, but denied that was a breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The comments from Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan came after the UN Security Council met on Tuesday to discuss the weekend test, which Washington described as “absolutely unacceptable”.

“The action was in line with boosting Iran’s defence power and is not in contradiction with the JCPOA (the nuclear deal) or Resolution 2231,” Mr Dehghan said.

He was referring to a UN Security Council resolution that bans Iran from developing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

“This test was in line with our ongoing programs,” Iranian media quoted him as saying.

“We have previously announced that we will execute the programs we have planned in production of defence equipment meant for our national interests and objectives. Nobody can influence our decision.

“We will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defence affairs.”

Iran’s ballistic missile program has been a bone of contention with the West since the nuclear deal took effect in January last year, triggering the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes only and are not designed to carry nuclear warheads………

The row comes against a backdrop of already strained relations between Washington and Tehran over US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on citizens from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.

Some 220 Iranian politicians signed a motion on Wednesday endorsing the boosting of Iran’s defence capabilities, the Fars news agency reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s only way to deter the enemy’s aggression is its missile power,” the motion said, calling the program “an unavoidable necessity” for protecting national security.

The European Union, which helped broker the nuclear deal, had appealed to Tehran to refrain from activities such as the missile tests, “which deepen mistrust.”

Visiting French top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday he had made clear to Zarif his disquiet over the missile tests, calling them “contrary to the spirit” of the Security Council resolution.

Britain also said the test was “inconsistent” with UN resolutions, but stopped short of calling it a violation.

But Moscow, which is fighting alongside Tehran’s forces in Syria, leapt to its ally’s defence.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Iran’s missile test did not breach Resolution 2231 and accused Washington of “heating up the situation.” http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-east/iran-denies-missile-test-breached-nuclear-deal/news-story/885daac0e3714c0dc4df51a3705ff37a

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

Far reaching implications of UK leaving Euratom – the nuclear security and information agency

exclamation-flag-UKWe are heading for a senseless nuclear Brexit – with no political or legal mandate https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2017/feb/01/brexit-nuclear-eu-euratom-treaty-clare-moody
Clare Moody Our nuclear energy, safety and research must not be subjugated to already chaotic Brexit negotiations – the government must put the national interest first
 Clare Moody is Labour MEP for South West England & Gibraltar. 3 February 2017

Last week we learned just how hard and how ill-conceived Brexit looks like being. The two line parliamentary bill published by the government last Thursday contained no detail, no plan, and no check or balance on the prime minister’s possible negotiation as it progresses.

One thing that was included, albeit buried in the explanation notes, is a brief reference to also ending Britain’s membership of Euratom – an entirely separate treaty. The implications of this will be deep and far-reaching for the future of UK’s energy supply, science, industry and workers. There is no political or legal mandate for the UK to leave Euratom, in fact it was barely even a footnote in the referendum campaign, and yet we are heading for a nuclear Brexit.

Euratom matters for the UK. Signed in 1957 as the European Atomic Energy Community, it is a separate treaty from the EU with the purpose of creating a single market for nuclear knowledge and resources in the peaceful pursuit of science and nuclear energy.

Whilst currently its only full members are EU countries, it is in fact a legally separate organisation to the EU. The UK is a leading member of Euratom, and plays host to one of its most important research institutions – the Joint European Torus (JET), based in Culham, Oxfordshire. JET is performing extraordinary and groundbreaking research in the pursuit of fusion energy, and is part of an EU-wide project to deliver on the vision of this revolutionary, safe and clean energy source. On the way, new technologies, materials and expertise are being developed here.

Euratom also provides safeguarding inspections for all civilian nuclear facilities in the UK, including Hinkley Point B, Sizewell and Torness in Scotland. It is the legal owner of all nuclear material, and is the legal purchaser, certifier and guarantor of any nuclear materials and technologies that the UK purchases. This includes our nuclear trade with the United States.

This means that 21% of the UK’s electricity generation is based on our membership of Euratom. It means that EDF can rely on secure supply chains for construction at Hinkley Point C and it is responsible for safeguarding inspections. Whether people are in favour of nuclear fission power or not we can all agree we want it to be as safe as possible, which is why leaving Euratom makes no sense.

Our own regulating authorities are not equipped to take over all of Euratom’s safeguarding work in the UK, and any British scientist will tell you that their work depends on international collaboration that is facilitated by this treaty.

Given this, it is hard to overstate the effect leaving Euratom will have on the UK –and the British people did not give the government a mandate to leave Euratom.

I think this is a bad decision, poorly thought out and with no explanation as to how our safety will be protected. The government must start at some point to put the national interest ahead of narrow party interest and Euratom would be a good place to start. Euratom is a separate treaty and the government should have the gumption to treat it as such – it requires separate and detailed negotiations. Our nuclear energy, safety and research must not be subjugated to the already chaotic wider Brexit negotiations.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission will continue to allow operation of troubled Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Pilgrim nuclear plantStaff ‘Overwhelmed’ at Nuclear Plant, but U.S. Won’t Shut It, NYT, 2 Feb 17 FEB. 1, 2017PLYMOUTH, Mass. — One by one, ordinary residents confronted the federal regulators, telling them during a three-hour meeting Tuesday night that the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station here was not safe and should be shut down.

February 3, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Urgent need for Europe to act to preserve the Iran nuclear deal

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-EUflag-IranEurope should act fast to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ellie Geranmayeh, 2 FEBRUARY 2017 US President Donald Trump has stirred all kinds of controversy with European allies during his first fortnight in office. Now, his administration’s evolving policy on Iran is becoming another source of concern across the Atlantic. Europe has a crucial but short window to clearly outline its position on the Iran nuclear deal in ways that could influence policymakers in Washington. In doing so, Europe should focus on preserving the agreement under existing terms as enshrined by the United Nations, and charting a course that minimizes confrontation—whether intentional or accidental—between Iran and the United States in an already turbulent Middle East.

On Wednesday, new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn declared that the United States was “putting Iran on notice.” While it is not clear what exactly he meant, he also criticized Iran’s missiles tests and behavior in the region, calling Tehran’s actions “provocative” and staking out a US position distinctly different from those of Europe and Russia. Although Flynn didn’t directly attack the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, a war of words could easily escalate in ways that threaten it.

The Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), scaled back the country’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. As a presidential candidate, Trump suggested he would “dismantle the disastrous deal” or renegotiate it. As president-elect he condemned the deal, but has since said he would “rigorously” enforce it. And during a White House briefing the same day as Flynn’s comments, US officials stressed “that they were not linking Iran’s missile and regional actions to the nuclear deal at this point,” as Al-Monitor reported. On Thursday, though, Trump tweeted that Iran “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them.” Going forward, it seems likely that Trump’s calculations over the nuclear deal and sanctions will be influenced by developments on non-nuclear issues and also events abroad—among Russia, US allies in Europe, the Gulf Arab states, and Israel.

An early test of the US administration’s stance will come this spring, when the president is required to renew sanctions waivers that enable non-US companies to do business with Iran, in accordance with the terms of the nuclear deal. ……

The Iran nuclear deal steered the United States and its allies away from resorting to yet another futile military encounter in the Middle East. It was never intended to solve every problem between the West and Iran, and the two sides continue to take opposing views on a number of critical issues. However, the agreement has proven that Iran and the West have the capacity to resolve complex security challenges through a transactional relationship if there are mutually beneficial outcomes. Instead of watching Tehran and Washington relapse into the rhetoric of war and conflict, Europe should encourage them to build on this winning formula. http://thebulletin.org/europe-should-act-fast-preserve-iran-nuclear-deal10488

February 3, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran’s test of medium-range ballistic missile

No comment was immediately available from Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency or from Iranian authorities.

The newspaper said the Sumar cruise missile was built in Iran and traveled around 600 km in its first known successful test. The missile is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 km, the paper said, citing intelligence sources.

Cruise missiles are harder to counter than ballistic missiles since they fly at lower altitudes and can evade enemy radar, confounding missile defense missiles and hitting targets deep inside an opponent’s territory.

But the biggest advantage from Iran’s point of view, a security expert told Die Welt, was that cruise missiles are not mentioned in any United Nations resolutions that ban work on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January last year under a nuclear deal brokered in 2015 by Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States.

Under the nuclear deal Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of most sanctions. According to a 2015 U.N. resolution endorsing the deal, Iran is still called upon to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

News of Iran’s reported cruise missile test came hours after Washington said it was putting Iran “on notice” for its ballistic missile test and signaled that it could impose new sanctions.

Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

(Writing by Andrea Shalal, Addirional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; editing by Ralph Boulton)

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fear of nuclear war leads Texans to build expensive bunkers

see-this.wayDOOMSDAY DUNGEONS/  (PICTURES)   Inside the nuclear bomb shelters being installed throughout Texas as residents prepare for global apocalypse. The bunkers range from £31,000 to £6.6million THE SUN,   BY SAM WEBB 2nd February 2017 

bunker-17

February 3, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dangerous steps by Russia and Trump on nuclear arms control

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag_RussiaFlag-USATrump, Russia take a dangerous first step on nuclear arms control, The Hill, In a recent interview with the the London TimesDonald Trump suggested that he would offer to lift U.S. sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as part of a nuclear arms control agreement.

At a time when tensions between the two countries are growing, a verifiable and stabilizing new arms control agreement would be genuinely welcome. But a bad deal would only make matters worse.

The comments about sanctions relief raise real questions about whether the incoming administration is willing to pay any price to improve relations with Russia (and why).

 Today, both countries are making investments to replace nuclear systems that were first fielded during the Cold War. An agreement to limit these modernization plans could save money, stabilize the nuclear balance, and be safer to maintain and operate.

Under President Obama, the United States found that it could meet its deterrence requirements after a further one-third reduction in deployed strategic warheads, beyond what was agreed in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in 2010, and offered this deal to Russia.

A new arms control agreement would be difficult to achieve today. Putin declined Obama’s one-third offer and has signaled that he is not willing to negotiate over his most dangerous systems, its vast and opaque stocks of low-yield and short-range weapons.

At the same time, Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by developing a new prohibited cruise missile and indicated no real willingness to address the concerns of the United States and other treaty participants. Arms control accords are among the most consequential and the most difficult negotiations in the world, features that will surely attract Trump — but changing Putin’s position will be a very tall order.  …….http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/317403-trump-russia-take-a-dangerous-first-step-on-nuclear-arms

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment