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Nuclear industry wins court battle over Ehime nuclear reactor, but plaintiffs will appeal

Residents fail in court battle to halt Ehime nuclear reactor http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201707210051.html, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, July 21, 2017 MATSUYAMA–Eleven local residents have lost their court bid to shut down the Ikata nuclear power plant’s No. 3 reactor, which was restarted in August 2016.

The Matsuyama District Court on July 21 turned down the request for a temporary injunction to halt operations.

The court said there is nothing unreasonable in the new safety standards introduced by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and in the safety measures taken by the plant’s operator, Shikoku Electric Power Co.

The residents intend to appeal to a higher court.

The nuclear power plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, is located near the “median tectonic line fault zone,” one of the largest active fault lines in Japan.

It is also at risk if a large tsunami is caused by a powerful earthquake along the Nankai Trough off the coast of western Japan.

After the powerful quakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture in April 2016, the Ehime residents filed an injunction with the court in May the same year, three months before the restart of the No. 3 reactor.

They said that as earthquakes could also occur around Ikata, it was necessary to continue the suspension of operations.

Since then, the residents have battled with Shikoku Electric Power at five hearings and through the exchange of documents.

The points of dispute were whether the NRA’s new safety standards are reasonable and whether the biggest tremors assumed by Shikoku Electric Power are of the appropriate level.

As for injunctions against nuclear power plants, the Fukui District Court decided in April 2015 to suspend operations of the No. 3 and the No. 4 reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. The Otsu District Court in the neighboring prefecture of Shiga also made a similar decision about the reactors in March 2016.

However, those decisions were nullified in subsequent rulings.

(This article was written by Yosuke Okawa and Yoshitaka Unezawa.)

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July 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Decentralised renewable energy is benefiting businesses

Edie 20th July 2017, Businesses that invest in decentralised energy systems can enjoy the triple benefit of economic value, security of supply and “telling a good story”, the new chief executive of community energy supplier Mongoose Energy has told edie. In his previous role as head of international NGO the Climate Group, Mark Kenber led the RE100 scheme which gets firms to source 100% renewable electricity.

It was revealed by edie earlier this month that the initiative was targeting 500 members by 2020 after passing the 100-member milestone. Kenber, who took the reins at Wiltshire-based Mongoose Energy in April, welcomed the growing number of businesses recognising the financial benefits of sourcing renewable energy.

He cited Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with local suppliers as one of the increasingly popular methods for
companies to meet renewable energy targets, and also improve CSR credentials. “Businesses sign up to RE100 for broadly financial reasons, they know the economics stack up,” Kenber said. “And if you can get a lot of CSR benefit from it, with a local store buying from the localcommunity, it’s a really good story. A lot of them are looking at that. Now
you can get competitive prices which work for both partners.
https://www.edie.net/news/6/Mark-Kenber–Localised-energy-will-revolutionise-the-way-businesses-source-power—/

July 22, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Britain tried to block European Union energy efficiency rules

Politico 18th July 2017, Negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU got underway in earnest this
week, but that doesn’t mean that the U.K. is withdrawing from other EU
business. Far from it. It has emerged that British ministers and officials
lobbied hard against a European Commission plan on energy efficiency, even
though the rules might never apply to the U.K.

Assuming it leaves the EU as planned in March 2019. Britain opposed a compromise deal on future EU
energy efficiency rules during a long and difficult meeting of EU energy
ministers last month, pushing the Commission to water down its proposals.

Richard Harrington, a junior minister at the U.K.’s Department for
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told the Energy Council meeting
in June that the U.K. was “disappointed” with Brussels’ proposal to
boost the target to 30 percent.

He said the British government “cannot support” the proposed compromise on energy efficiency because “we do
not believe it strikes the right balance to provide sufficient flexibility to reach our ambitions.”

The energy efficiency rules are part of a wider package of proposals meant to accelerate the EU’s transition to clean
energy, and while the European Commission is pushing for an inter-institutional deal on all eight parts of the package by the end of 2018, officials doubt that is realistic.

The move to block strong energy efficiency rules is creating “a lot of bad feelings” among other EU
countries, especially since Britain “will need all the friends it can
get” after Brexit, said Jonathan Gaventa, director at think tank E3G.  http://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-uk-fights-energy-plans-that-wont-kick-in-until-after-brexit/amp/

July 22, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Impact of Environmental Change on Human Security  – climate refugees

Climate, Conflict, and Refugees: Examining the Impact of Environmental Change on Human Security https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2017/06/climate-conflict-refugees/

June 26, 2017 By Arundhati Ponnapa   “There’s a long list of crises that can have a natural resource base,” said Anne C. Richard, former assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, at a Stimson Center panel on June 13, 2017, on the impacts of climate change on human security and mobility. The panelists included Kelly McFarland of Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD), Rod Schoonover of the National Intelligence Council, and Sally Yozell, director of Stimson’s Environmental Security Program.“The people hit hardest are the ones that can’t move,” said McFarland, stressing the need to collect data and plan for long-term environmental changes and potential crises. He presented a new working group report from ISD that outlines the challenges of climate-related migration and offers 10 guiding principles for optimizing adaptation and resilience-building tools, such as assessments of the needs of sending and receiving communities.

One of the challenges is the lack of a legal definition for people displaced by climate change: “It is hard to come up with who exactly is an environmental migrant, because of the fact that there are other drivers involved in getting them to move,” said McFarland. While the panelists agreed that global consensus is required on this issue, Schoonover suggested that global governance structures like multilateral treaties “seemed to work better in the last century.”

“Population does fall between the cracks,” said Richard, calling for looking at climate change and displacement in a more integrative, holistic manner, with an emphasis on planning, resilience-building, and local community responses. Transdisciplinary approaches can address the overlap between issues such as urbanization and rising sea levels: “More and more refugees live in cities. In fact, the majority of refugees, like the majority of people, live in cities,” said Richard.

Schoonover described the burgeoning security risks as “a stew of problems,” citing potential pressures on U.S. homeland security, threats to American allies, and limits on diplomatic or political capacity. “In some cases, humanitarian issues writ large become security issues when they bring in the U.S. military and perhaps strain defense forces,” particularly as potential crises emerge when environmental degradation and population growth tax cities such as Lagos or nuclear states such as Pakistan.

Schoonover pointed out that developed countries with aging populations and physical space could house migrants, and McFarland recommended that policymakers explore offering economic incentives to receiving communities. “Migration does not have to be a dirty word; migration can be a positive experience,” said Richard.

 

July 22, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Asia’s coal-fired power boom ‘bankrolled by foreign governments and banks’

The vast majority of newly built stations in Indonesia relied on export credits agencies or development banks, says study by Market Forces, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 20 july 17, The much-discussed boom in coal-fired power in south-east Asia is being bankrolled by foreign governments and banks, with the vast majority of projects apparently too risky for the private sector.

Environmental analysts at activist group Market Forces examined 22 deals involving 13.1 gigawatts of coal-fired power in Indonesia and found that 91% of the projects had the backing of foreign governments through export credit agencies or development banks.

Export credit agencies, which provide subsidised loans to overseas projects to assist export industries in their home countries, were involved in 64% of the deals and provided 45% of the total lending.

The majority of the money was coming from Japan and China, with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) involved in five deals and the Export-Import Bank of China (Cexim) involved in seven deals. All the deals closed between January 2010 and March 2017.

The China Development Bank was the biggest development bank lending to the projects, imparting $3bn, with a further $240m in development funds coming from Korea’s Korea Development Bank.

The lending comes despite the world’s biggest development bank – the World Bank – warning last year that plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change.

“Right now, several key countries supporting the Paris climate change agreement are actively undermining it by trying to expand the polluting coal-power sector in other countries,” said Julien Vincent, executive director of Market Forces.

According to the International Energy Agency, the world needs to phase out coal-power by 2050 in order to keep warming under 2C……..

The push of financing comes as Japan, China and Korea move to cut plans for coal-power in their own countries. Vincent said the moves were related, since Indonesia was now seen as a testing ground for new coal-fired power station technology. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/20/asias-coal-fired-power-boom-bankrolled-by-foreign-governments-and-banks

July 22, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The Australian businessman tasked with making American manufacturing great for Donald Trump has broken with the President on climate policy

Andrew Liveris adamant US will revisit Paris climate deal, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/andrew-liveris-adamant-us-will-revisit-paris-climate-deal/news-story/d4b0e75cb50c717220f4b13543157a67, 22 July 17 JAMIE WALKER, Associate Editor, Brisbane, @Jamie_WalkerOz

The Australian businessman tasked with making American manufacturing great for Donald Trump has broken with the President on climate policy, saying the US must re-engage with the Paris agreement.

And in a provocative address in Brisbane, Dow Chemical boss ­Andrew Liveris revealed that ­spiralling domestic gas prices had forced the multinational firm to review its Australian operations.

As the head of Mr Trump’s manufacturing council, Darwin-raised Mr Liveris is working with the embattled administration to deliver a key election promise to revitalise US manufacturing, while engineering one of the ­biggest corporate mergers in ­history between Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Warning that environmental sustainability was “no longer an initiative, it’s a business model”, Mr Liveris said Mr Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris accord should not halt international co-operation on greenhouse gas mitigation. “We cannot as citizens of the world let that move impede our collective progress and our determination to ­remove carbon from the atmosphere,” he said, to applause from the crowd of 1500 that turned out for the UQ ChangeMakers forum, put on by his alma mater the University of Queensland and supported by The Weekend Australian.

“Many businesses in the US, NGOs and states have re-upped and picked up the commitment of what’s become the slack left behind by the federal government.

“I believe the US will re-engage ultimately with Paris and I am certainly being part of the solution to make that happen.” But he distanced himself from Mr Trump’s handling of the issue, saying it was “very unfortunate” the President had said the US was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris agreement, when the aim was to “redefine its engagement”. Under the UN-backed accord, Australia is committed to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Mr Liveris said: “They are actually not withdrawing, they just want to re-­engage on different terms. So if you think about it that way, I would say the odds would be very high of a re-engagement.”

Mr Liveris was one of the first business leaders to warn of the “gas cliff” that has deepened eastern Australia’s energy crisis, prompting intervention by the federal government to limit LNG exports and boost domestic gas supplies. He said yesterday that the gas price paid by Dow Chemical in Australia had rocketed from “roughly five or six dollars” to $20 in less than a year, jeopardising the business. “So my leader of Australia-Pacific … he’s got a proposal in front of us to look at exiting Australia right now in terms of uncompetitive energy prices.

We are not alone. We … can see the future in terms of the ­trajectory … you need to fix supply and you have got to basically recalibrate demand so that 90 per cent of the gas isn’t ­exported.”

Backing the controversial Finkel report to the government on energy security, Mr Liveris said it offered a “great series of policy ­solutions” and business would ­accept a target for renewables. The country, however, needed “policies that outlive” the government concerned. “What I would say is give me a policy that has a renewable target, give me time to develop it and I will develop a partnership model with you, in an innovation hub … to develop the technologies over time,” he said.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment