nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The past week in nuclear and climate news

of interest:   Radiological and nuclear incidents – the IAEA database

In the anglophone world, nuclear and climate are not top of the news at the moment, but are lurking not far beneath it. Terrorism events enhance the concern about radiation – “dirty bombs” etc.  Theresa May’s unsatisfactory result at the British election makes it harder for her to negotiate the exit from the European Atomic Community (“Euratom”). In America the unfolding saga of the the sacked FBI director Comey, and the  investigation into Michael Flynn and the Trump election campaign, has now revealed Flynn’s involvement in a truly weird nuclear marketing scheme.

As for climate change action – well, China is taking over the leadership. China and California are setting up their own climate accord. A joint commitment to fight climate change – European Union and China. America is really “still in it” as More than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, investors, universities, and companies  pledge to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

NORTH KOREA. Defiant North Korea vows to continue its nuclear weapons development. No answer in sight, to North Korea’s march toward nuclear capability.

EUROPELeaders of Germany, France and Italy reject Trump’s suggestion of renegotiating Paris climate accord.

USA.

JAPANIbaraki nuclear research facility under scrutiny after accident; gas suspected in rupture. 5 Workers Exposed to Radioactive Materials at Oarai Nuclear Research Facility in Ibara. Decommissioning of Monju Fast-Breeder Reactor Accepted by Fukui Governor,

Fukushima. Thyroid Cancer Plagues Fukushima Evacuees, But Officials Deny Radiation to Blame. Fukushima town, Namie to receive compensation.  Trial of Three Key Tepco Executives Starting. 80% of voluntary evacuees not yet returned to Fukushima Prefecture.

UK. Dangerous cargo of radioactive trash flying from Scotland to South Carolina.

AUSTRALIA. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill declares the nuclear waste importing plan “dead”

GERMANY. German Chancellor Merkel says budget not affected by court ruling to refund nuclear taxes.

RUSSIA. Legacy of improperly managed radioactive sites across Russia.

INDIA. The high cost of new Units 5, 6 at Kudankulam Nuclear power – most of it owed to Russia

BRAZIL. Brazil following US in rolling back climate protections.

AFRICA. Solar lamps tackling poverty and ill-health in Africa.

ANTARCTICA. Massive crack in Antarctic ice shelf is near to breaking.

 

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June 10, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident – where to put the radioactive trash?

The license to store the material in Idaho now expires in 2019. In a separate agreement with Idaho made in 1995, the agency is required to remove the waste from the state by 2035.

Federal officials currently have nowhere to send it.

Extension Sought for Storing Three Mile Island Debris   https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/idaho/articles/2017-06-09/extension-sought-for-idaho-storing-nuclear-meltdown-debris Federal officials requested a 20-year extension involving the storage in Idaho of reactor core debris from the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.  June 9, 2017,By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal officials requested a 20-year extension involving the storage in Idaho of reactor core debris from the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.

The U.S. Department of Energy in a document made public Friday asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew a license allowing storage until 2039 at an 890-square -mile site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

The debris from the 1979 nuclear accident was shipped from Pennsylvania to Idaho between 1986 and 1990. Research on the material was performed to improve nuclear fuel design and reactor safety.

The material also includes intact fuel assemblies.

The license to store the material in Idaho now expires in 2019. In a separate agreement with Idaho made in 1995, the agency is required to remove the waste from the state by 2035.

Federal officials currently have nowhere to send it.

“DOE remains committed to meeting its obligations to the state of Idaho,” the federal agency said in a March 9 letter to Idaho officials.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission received a letter dated March 6 from the Energy Department requesting the license renewal.

Anyone interested in requesting a hearing or who wants to intervene must file a petition with the commission within 60 days starting Friday.

Susan Burke, oversight coordinator of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, said federal officials told her that an additional four years for removal will allow them to decommission the area after the debris is taken away.

“They obviously can’t close the facility a day after they remove the fuel,” she said. “There’s not an intent to not meet the 2035 deadline.”

The Idaho Attorney’s General Office declined to comment about the request for a license renewal. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and the Energy Department have been at an impasse on another nuclear waste issue for more than a year.

 Wasden is refusing to allow research quantities of spent nuclear fuel to be shipped to Idaho National Laboratory — considered the nation’s top nuclear research lab — until the Energy Department demonstrates it can process 900,000 gallons of high-level nuclear waste.

The Energy Department initially had a 2012 deadline to deal with the liquid waste that’s stored in tanks above a giant aquifer that supplies water to cities and farms in the region.

That deadline has been extended multiple times and was most recently missed in September after the federal agency announced scientists couldn’t achieve a stable operation at a $600 million facility to treat the waste.

June 10, 2017 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New nuclear power station for Virginia? Clean Technica examines the financial realities

No, Virginia, There Is No Nuclear Santa Claus https://cleantechnica.com/2017/06/09/no-virginia-no-nuclear-santa-claus/June 9th, 2017 by Michael Barnard  Virginia is about to receive approval for the most expensive nuclear reactor ever built in the USA. It’s been a 10-year hunt with reactor technologies changing at least twice to add a third unit to the North Anna nuclear generation plant. But they are closing in on regulatory approval.

How much would its electricity cost if it actually goes forward?

Nuclear math is hard. That’s not the math behind nuclear physics, by the way. That’s actually straightforward compared to the financial black arts accounting that occurs with nuclear plants. A tremendous amount of the costs are typically swept under the rug as overruns occur and governments and utilities try to save face. Ontario, as one example, is on its 30th year and 4th administration of pushing its nuclear debt down the road to future politicians and taxpayers.

But let’s pretend the numbers will be relatively transparent and do some simple math.

Let’s make a few assumptions:

    • Capital costs are $19 billion USD as per the economic analysis cited.
    • The $600 million USD already spent as per the reference is included in the cost of electricity.
    • Capacity is 1.6 GW as per the reference, which is higher than the 1.52 GW originally specified in 2007 when this process started.
    • Capacity factor on most years of operation would be 90%, but 60% for the first year of operation and after refurbishment. Obviously, it would be 0% during construction and during the two years of refurbishment.
    • Operational costs are 5% to 10% of capital costs per year. That would be $0.95 billion to $1.9 billion per year.
    • At 20 years of operation, the reactor would be refurbished, taking two years and costing $5 billion, approximately 25% of original capital outlay.
    • It would take 8 years of actual construction and be on time and on budget.
    • Lifespan of the reactor before decommissioning would be 40 years.

Let’s see what the numbers tell us for 5% operating costs for the cost of electricity per MWh: Continue reading

June 10, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

German Chancellor Merkel says budget not affected by court ruling to refund nuclear taxes

Budget targets not affected by German nuclear tax ruling – Merkel, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-nuclear-court-merkel-idUSKBN18Y1RO?il=0, 8 June 17  Germany’s broad budgetary goals are not endangered by a court’s finding that a tax on nuclear fuel rods is illegal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

The Constitutional Court had earlier found that the 145 euro/gram tax on reactor refueling was illegal, obliging the government to pay a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) refund to the utilities EON, RWE and EnBW.

“The finance minister will assess the ruling and implement it, but first we should wait for that assessment and then Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will make his proposals,” Merkel said. “I don’t think our main targets will be at risk.”    (Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Legal, politics | Leave a comment

“We Are Still In” Paris climate accord; over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, investors, universities, and companies

Guardian 8th June 2017, Yesterday, the mayors of Pittsburgh and Paris co-authored a New York Times editorial rejecting Trump’s efforts to pin the two cities against each other on climate change.

Additionally, 12 states (California, New York,Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) plus Puerto Rico created the US Climate Alliance, committed to upholding the Paris accord. These states represent 97 million Americans – 30% of the national population.

More than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, investors, universities, and companies joined the “We Are Still In” campaign, pledging to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. And California Governor Jerry Brown has effectively
become America’s unofficial climate change ambassador.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/jun/08/pittsburgh-and-paris-join-over-200-cities-and-states-rejecting-trump-on-climate

June 10, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

11 June: New Zealand celebrates 30 years of Nuclear Free policy

People from all walks of life are joining together to form a giant human peace symbol. Its intention is to convey a unified message of world peace supporting a world free of nuclear weapons.

This may be the first time for the younger generation to celebrate our historic New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone and take part in creating a message of world peace.

New Zealand supports Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty: public event in Auckland Domain, June 11th.

30th Anniversary of Nuclear Free New Zealand http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1706/S00132/30th-anniversary-of-nuclear-free-new-zealand.htm 10 June 2017, New Zealand Peace Foundation On Sunday 11 June at 12.00 midday in Auckland Domain The Peace Foundation is organising a public peace event to mark the thirty year anniversary of New Zealand saying “no” to nukes in the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 statute.

The free public event in the Auckland Domain involves our Mayor Phil Goff, one of more than 7000 ‘Mayors for Peace’ globally who are committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The Mayor will unveil a peace plaque beside a Pohutukawa tree, in honour of Nuclear-Free New Zealand and those who work for peace, and to support the United Nations Nuclear Weapon ban treaty negotiations that start in New York next week.

“The Nuclear Free New Zealand 30th anniversary celebration is a time to reflect on the horror of war, to learn lessons from our past and do everything we can to prevent the future use of Nuclear Weapons. New Zealand is proudly nuclear free and we must continue to strive for a peaceful world free of nuclear arms” says Mayor Goff.

“There are at least two undeniable existential threats to human survival – climate change and nuclear weapons. On the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s Nuclear Free Zone status, it’s heartening to see our Government taking a strong stand on nuclear disarmament. We should always remember that our nuclear-free status was created by the people of New Zealand and in the process, they set an example that the rest of the world can follow” – Dr Russel Norman, Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director.

 Helen Clarke, former NZ Prime Minister, tweeted: “30 years and going strong. NZ became a nuclear-free nation by law in 1987. I chaired the parliamentary committee which examined the new law.”
Significant public support is expected at the Auckland rally which is the first of its kind and one of many nationwide being organised throughout this year to mark the staying power of this important legislation.

The Auckland event is an opportunity for people to take a stand for peace by forming a giant human peace symbol like one done publicly in 1983. (see attached Picture)

Join the citizens of Auckland as we recreate the largest Human Peace symbol in New Zealand to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of “No Nukes” in the land of the long white cloud, the very same peace symbol we created in 1983. Help send a signal to the world that together we stand for peace.

People from all walks of life are joining together to form a giant human peace symbol. Its intention is to convey a unified message of world peace supporting a world free of nuclear weapons.

This may be the first time for the younger generation to celebrate our historic New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone and take part in creating a message of world peace.

New Zealand supports Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty: public event in Auckland Domain, June 11th.

The recreation of the human peace symbol is scheduled for midday.

June 10, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Japanese government is not considering building new nuclear power stations

Japan Minister Denies Government Considering New Nuclear Plants https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-06-08/japan-to-consider-building-new-nuclear-plants-nikkei TOKYO (Reuters) 8 June 17 – Japan’s trade minister on Friday denied a media report and said the government is not considering building new nuclear plants or replacing existing reactors.

The Nikkei business daily reported earlier that Japan’s trade ministry would launch a panel as early as this month to revise the country’s energy plan and consider building new nuclear plants or replacing existing plants in the future.

The government will keep its current plan, set up in 2014, to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy, according to the Nikkei report, but also says that keeping nuclear power at a minimal share of the overall energy mix would require the construction of new reactors.

“At this point, we are not thinking of new construction or replacement at all,” Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters, dismissing the report as groundless.

Seko said the government is discussing the schedule for the revision of its basic energy plan, normally done every three to four years. No details for consideration have been set, he said.

 If the government called for a policy that included building new reactors, such a move would face strong public resistance following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the world’s worst nuclear calamity since Chernobyl in 1986.

A target by the industry ministry for nuclear to provide about a fifth of the country’s electricity in 2030 provoked widespread criticism when it was finalised in 2015.

(Reporting by Ami Miyazaki; Writing by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue)

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

German court ruling rejects Germany’s nuclear fuel tax – very disappointing to Environment Minister

German minister says court’s nuclear tax ruling is very irritating, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-nuclear-court-minister-idUSKBN18Y1RK?il=0, 8  June 17

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Wednesday that a court ruling that declared Germany’s nuclear fuel tax illegal was a “colossal irritation”.

The ruling from the Constitutional Court raised the prospect of a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) refund to utilities at a time of strained balance sheets.

Hendricks, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) – the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition – said the 2009-2013 government, which was made up of Merkel’s conservatives and the Free Democrats (FDP), had caused “chaos” in nuclear policy.

“The fact that this bodge (of the previous government) is paying out for the nuclear power companies years later makes the Constitutional Court’s ruling a colossal irritation,” Hendricks said.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Workers at £18bn Hinkley C nuclear project hope for higher bonuses, in new pay deal

Construction News 8th June 2017, Workers building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset can look forward to higher bonuses after the Unite union and the plant’s employers agreed a fresh pay deal for staff on the £18bn project.

STRIKES by workers building the new Hinkley Point nuclear power plant were“taken off the agenda” yesterday after an interim agreement over bonus pay. Unite had warned of strikes over bonuses, but the issue will now be considered by a panel made up of a union official and an EDF Energy executive.

As part of the agreement, interim bonuses will be paid until the end of August. Unite officer Jerry Swain said: “I am pleased that, following consultation with our stewards and members, we have been able to agree a clear path forward and that the prospect of industrial action, which is always a last resort, can be taken off the agenda in order to allow the panel to deliberate.   https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/10020594.article

June 10, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Planning for new phase in getting rid of Dounreay – UK’s 1950s nuclear reactor complex

BBC 7th June 2017 A planning application is being prepared for a new phase in the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear power complex in Caithness.
Buildings on the experimental nuclear energy site, which dates to the 1950s, are being emptied of radioactive material and demolished. Starting in 2018, the planned next stage would involve dismantling reactors.

New temporary buildings would also need to be built to aid the new phase. The new buildings would include facilities for handling the clean up and demolition of areas of the site called the Silo and The Shaft. Also included are plans for restoration and landscaping work to restore areas of land to close to how they looked before the construction of Dounreay. The phase would take the site near Thurso to what is called its interim end state. Dounreay Site Restoration Limited has notified Highland Council that it expects to submit the planning application later this year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-40188815

June 10, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Gas and coal fall behind in UK’s energy generation

Winds of change: gusts across Europe help set renewable power recordNuclear, wind and solar power in UK generate more electricity than gas and coal combined for first time ever. Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 8 June 2017

The windy weather across Europe in the past 24 hours may have been a curse for summer picnics, but it has set records for renewable power. In the UK, wind, nuclear and solar power were together generating more electricity than gas and coal combined at 1pm on Wednesday, for the first time ever.

Including hydropower and biomass burned at power stations such as Drax in North Yorkshire, renewables provided 50.7% of demand at lunchtime.

High wind speeds and the growing number of windfarms off the coasts of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries have also set what are understood to be records……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/07/winds-gusts-europe-enewable-power-record

June 10, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

UK political parties – energy policies

Greens would ditch Hinkley Point C – an expert view on the manifestos and recycling
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/07/general-election-public-service-manifesto-pledges-environment   

Conservatives

New support for fracking to extract shale and coal seam gas is the most striking pledge from the Conservatives, with the easing of planning rules, a new dedicated regulator and more of any future tax revenues going directly to communities hosting shale gas sites. Wind power remains ruled out in England, but offshore wind farms are supported. The energy efficiency of all fuel-poor homes would be upgraded to meet energy performance certificate (EPC) band C criteria by 2030. There is no environment section in the manifesto and the UK’s air pollution crisis gets a single sentence: “We will take action against poor air quality in urban areas.” A free vote on repealing the ban on fox hunting with dogs is promised.

Labour

Four million homes would be insulated to cut emissions, improve health and lower bills. Fracking would be banned but new nuclear power stations and renewable energy, including tidal lagoons, are supported. On air pollution, a new Clean Air Act is promised, but without any detail. The controversial badger cull, intended to curb TB in cattle, would end and bees and other pollinators would be protected by a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. Labour would “set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes”, aimed at cutting the 7bn single-use bottles sold in the UK each year.

Liberal Democrats

Higher, cheaper, sleeker: wind turbines of the future – in pictures

Greens

Nine million homes would receive energy efficiency upgrades, bringing two million people out of fuel poverty. Fracking would be banned and the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset cancelled, while public funds would be divested from the fossil fuel industry. A new government-owned investment body would finance the transition to a zero-carbon economy. The Greens would “end the monopoly of the big six [energy companies] by building democratic, locally owned alternatives”, which would get priority access to the national grid. Plastic waste would be tackled with the introduction of a bottle deposit scheme and free public water dispensers.

June 10, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment