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Olympic games in Fukushima: Is it safe?

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Fukushima city is going to host Olympic baseball and softball games in 2020.
What is the level of radio-contamination there? This is the question on everybody’s mind, spectators and players from all over the world. Is it really safe?

Baseball and softball games will take place in Azuma Sports Park in Fukushima city.

 

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Fukushima prefecture provides the information below on the radiation measurements of the Park.

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Measurements of the airborne radiation dose in the baseball stadium: No 13-16
Those of the softball stadium: No 4
The lines above and below indicate the value of the radiation dose at 1cm and 5cm above the ground.

We notice that, as usual, Fukushima prefecture gives only measurements in terms of radiation dose. Based on this information, one might think that it would be relatively safe to play there or to attend the games. However, monitoring only the radiation dose is not enough for radioprotection. The radiation dose is an indication of external irradiation exposure. In this case, the measures of radioprotection will be to stay away from the radioactive objects or not to stay in their vicinity for a long time. But the radiation dose does not provide information to avoid the risk of internal irradiation. For this latter, it is necessary to monitor surface contamination density or concentration, in this case, of soil (in terms of Becquerels/m2 or Bq/kg), as well as the concentration of radioactive substances in the air (Bq/m3). The radioprotection measures against internal irradiation would be wearing protective gear and masks to avoid the radioactive substances from adhering to the skin and/or entering the body.

 

 

Here is some information provided by Yoichi OZAWA of « Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project », the group of which we have published several soil contamination maps in this blog. OZAWA took measurements on July 27 at the request of the ARD German TV channel team which was visiting Fukushima.

PowerPoint プレゼンテーション
Contamination concentration and density of 5cm surface soil around the Azuma Baseball Stadium

Point A : The entrance of the « Torimu no Mori» where children play.
Radiation dose at 1m above the ground : 0.12 μSv/h
Radiation dose on the ground : 0.19µSv/h
Surface concentration : 605 Bq/kg
Surface density : 47,300 Bq/m2

Point B : In front of the Multi-purpose Fields.
Radiation dose at 1m above the ground : 0.10 μSv/h
Radiation dose on the ground : 0.22µSv/h
Surface concentration : 410 Bq/kg
Surface density : 31,200 Bq/m2

To interpret these figures, let us remind you that in Japan, according to the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards, places where the effective dose is likely to surpass 1.3mSv in 3 months (approximately 0.6µSv/h of airborne radioactivity) or the contamination density to exceed 40,000Bq/m2 are designated as a « Radiation Control Zone » and public entry must be severely restricted. People under 18 years old are not allowed to enter, and even adults, including nuclear workers, cannot stay more than 10 hours. It is prohibited to eat, drink or stay overnight. To leave the zone, one has go through a strict screening to check for radioactive substances leaving the zone, a measure to protect the individual person as well as the environment.

We do not have the measures of surface density of the baseball nor softball stadiums, but in answering the question of the above German TV team, the information was given as to the decontamination work and radiation dose. There had been decontamination work, and the airborne radiation dose was about 0.04µSv/h in the baseball stadium.

Even when decontamination work has been carried out in the stadium, the mountains and woods behind the park have not been decontaminated, and wind and rain bring the radioactive substances towards the park. Besides, as we can see above, other places in the park are highly contaminated when we look at the surface contamination. They represent high risks of internal irradiation. Moreover, according to recent research, radioactive particles disseminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident are mostly insoluble in water. This characteristic makes the health hazard much worse than in the case of the usual water soluble Cesium (see English transcription of NHK documentary on Insoluble Radioactive Particles in this blog). We believe that this Park should not be open to the public, especially to children.

The small type of insoluble radioactive particles – also called Cesium balls -, are dispersed in the Tokyo metropolitan area. People who visit this area should be careful and should take adequate radioprotection measures especially when it is windy and the radioactive particles can be re-disseminated.

All in all, we believe that there is far too much risk for the players and spectators to participate in the Olympic games in Fukushima. Fukushima should not host the Olympic games. Furthermore, we are against holding the Olympic games in Tokyo.

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Read also :

Forest fire in the exclusion zone in Fukushima: Why monitoring the radiation dose is not enough for radioprotection

See the publication of August 4 2017 in the FB of Oz Yo

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/olympic-games-in-fukushima-is-it-safe/

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August 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017, Fukushima continuing | , , , | 2 Comments

Groundwater level plunges near Fukushima reactor

The reason they didn’t divert the groundwater around Daiichi is because they need it to keep all the missing stuff cool & contained, relatively speaking …

“A sharp fall in the groundwater level just outside reactor buildings could cause contaminated water to leak from inside the buildings.”

 

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The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the groundwater level briefly plummeted near a building that houses one of the crippled reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the fall was observed in a monitoring well about 11 meters southwest of the No.4 reactor building on Wednesday.

The utility says the groundwater level temporarily sank roughly 1 meter below the level of contaminated water inside the reactor building.

The firm says the groundwater rose above the usual level 23 minutes later.

A sharp fall in the groundwater level just outside reactor buildings could cause contaminated water to leak from inside the buildings.

TEPCO says it assessed the density of radioactive substances in the well water on Thursday and has confirmed no leak of contaminated water took place.

TEPCO stopped pumping out water from the well and reported the case to relevant local governments and the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The company says it is conducting an investigation, suspecting that improvement work on another well 6 meters away may have caused the drop.

The utility publicized the drop on Thursday, one day after the phenomenon was recorded. The firm apologized for the delay in disclosure, saying it initially decided a problem had developed with the well’s water gauge as the water level in a nearby well remained unchanged.

The No.4 reactor building experienced a hydrogen explosion, but not a meltdown, during the 2011 accident.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170804_06/

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Taiwan’s Atomic Energy Council Establishes First Food Testing Lab for Japanese Food Imports

Taiwan communicates on the control of foodstuffs from Japan. I note that these are the same limits, concerning Cesium, in the European Union … (according to the last regulation dated 13/07/2017).
In the EU, it’s been a long time since Iodine 131 is no longer controlled.
The article does not mention “other foodstuffs”, for which the maximum import limit in the EU is 100 Bq / kg.

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AEC lab to test food imports for radiation

The AEC said the new facility can test up to 1,700 samples per month and would run tests on food samples sent by customs offices in northern Taiwan

The Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday announced that it has established the nation’s first food testing laboratory for radioactive contamination in response to calls from civic groups following last year’s public hearings on the issue of Japanese food imports.

The facility is the first of its kind to obtain certification from the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation (TAF), AEC Department of Radiation Protection Director-General Liu Wen-hsi (劉文熙) said.

The council had already been testing food products for radiation, but the new laboratory would be a separate branch entirely dedicated to testing food, Liu said.

Last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s plan to lift a ban on food imports from Japan’s Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures led to a public outcry, amid fears that food from these areas were affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.

At the public hearings, many experts and civic groups questioned the capability of the nation’s ability to detect radioactive contamination in food products.

The council said it receives about 1,400 food samples from the ministry each month and that the new laboratory would be able test up to 1,700 samples per month.

The council received 2,200 food samples in a single month following the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, but the monthly average of food samples received for the rest of 2011 was about 1,600, Liu said.

The number of samples sent to the council has not increased significantly over the past few years, the council added.

The new laboratory in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) is equipped with five high-purity germanium detectors and employs 12 specialists, increasing resources by one detector and two staff members, Liu said, adding that the laboratory will be testing samples sent by the customs offices in northern Taiwan.

A smaller laboratory run by the council in Kaohsiung tests samples from Taichung and Kaohsiung ports, and is waiting for TAF certification for food testing, he added.

The ministry has determined the maximum allowable level of radioactive residue in foods for three isotopes — iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137 — in the Standards for the Tolerance of Atomic Dust and Radioactivity Contamination in Foods (食品中原子塵或放射能污染容許量標準).

For dairy products and baby foods, the limit is set at 55 becquerels (Bq) of iodine-131, 50Bq of cesium-134 and 50Bq of cesium-137 per kilogram of food, while beverages and bottled water can contain up to 100Bq of iodine-131, 10Bq of cesium-134 or 10Bq of cesium-137 per liter.

As iodine-131 and cesium-134 have shorter half lives, the council is more concerned with cesium-137 contamination in food imported from Japan, Liu said.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/08/01/2003675708

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Taiwan | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel debris to be collected from 2021

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A government advisory body has compiled a draft blueprint for recovering nuclear fuel debris from the No. 1 to 3 reactors that melted down at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it has been learned.

According to the draft from the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, the recovery project will prioritize collection of debris that has piled up at the bottom of the reactors, installing a robot arm into the reactor containment vessels from the side and controlling it remotely as its main operation.

The aim is to start the project in 2021. All the decommissioning work is expected to be completed sometime from 30 to 40 years after the disaster occurred.

The draft was presented Monday at an expert panel meeting held by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, to discuss ways to decommission reactors and get rid of contaminated water. The government will decide sometime in September, based on the blueprint, on a means to remove debris from each reactor.

Fuel penetrated pressure vessels that contain reactor cores, causing debris to form at different levels on the bottom of the containment vessels of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors.

It was decided to recover the fuel from the side because that will allow work to retrieve fuel from spent pools located in the upper part of the reactor buildings to be conducted at the same time. If recovery was attempted from above, the robot arm would have to reach down to the bottom of the containment vessels, about 30 meters away. The distance would be only about 10 meters if the arm is installed from the side, making it easier to work on the project. The draft deems it feasible to recover debris from the side to get things started.

Details will be discussed in the future, but the draft suggests making use of holes in the containment vessels’ wall or boring new ones, from which the robot arm can be installed to be operated remotely.

Fuel debris

A substance created when atomic fuel such as uranium reaches high heat, begins to melt with metal fuel cladding and the material of the reactor’s structure, and then consolidates. The shape, hardness and content of debris vary depending on how it was formed, so it can resemble rocks, pebbles or sand. When recovering it, care must be taken not to trigger recriticality.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003852307

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima’s mayor urges that Japan join the UN nuclear weapons ban: PM Abe toes the USA line on keeping nuclear weapons

Hiroshima anniversary highlights contrasting nuclear views, TODAY,   AUGUST 7, 2017, TOKYO — Japan yesterday marked 72 years since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, with the nation’s traditional contradictions over atomic weapons again coming into focus.

The anniversary came after Japan sided last month with nuclear powers Britain, France and the United States to dismiss a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons, which was rejected by critics for ignoring the reality of security threats such as North Korea. Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945.

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at the annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near Ground Zero, said Japan hoped to push for a world without nuclear weapons in a way that all countries can agree upon……..

This hell is not a thing of the past,” said Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui in his peace declaration at yesterday’s ceremony.

“As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment. You could find yourself suffering their cruelty.

“Today, a single bomb can cause even greater damage than the bombs dropped 72 years ago.

“Humankind must never commit such an act,’’ he added, urging nuclear states, as well as Japan, to join the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty adopted in July.

Japanese officials have criticised the treaty as deepening a divide between countries with and without nuclear arms.None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons took part in the negotiations or voted on the treaty. Japanese officials routinely argue that they abhor nuclear weapons, but the nation’s defence is firmly set under the US nuclear umbrella.

In his message to Hiroshima, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the presence of some 15,000 nuclear weapons, along with “dangerous rhetoric regarding their use”, has exacerbated the threat they pose……

Many in Japan feel the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki amounted to war crimes and atrocities because they targeted civilians, and also because of the unprecedented destructive nature of the weapons…….http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/hiroshima-anniversary-highlights-contrasting-nuclear-views

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | 1 Comment

The human effect – as New York and other cities become climate changed sweltering hotspots

Climate change is turning cities into harsh, sweltering hotspots http://grist.org/article/climate-change-is-turning-cities-into-harsh-sweltering-hotspots/ Tina Johnson has a sense of place. She’s a fourth-generation New Yorker who lives in the same apartment in West Harlem’s Grant housing development that her grandparents lived in. She calls that apartment her anchor, and the nine buildings that make up the development towering above 125th Street — home to roughly 4,400 residents spread across nine high rises — a small town.

August 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, PERSONAL STORIES, USA | Leave a comment

USA Congress going all out to make Trump’s anti-climate orders become the law

How Congress Is Cementing Trump’s Anti-Climate Orders into Law These efforts are mostly flying under the radar, but they could short-circuit lawsuits and make it harder to restore environmental protections. Inside Climate News, Marianne Lavelle 31 JULY 17, 

How NRDC will fight Trump’s attack on our environment.

President Donald Trump marvels at his own velocity when he boasts about dismantling the Obama climate legacy. “I have been moving at record pace to cancel these regulations and to eliminate the barriers to domestic energy production, like never before,” he said at a recent White House event.

August 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear boondoggle – $billions wasted, and more costs to come

Billions lost in nuclear power projects, with more bills due, Fox Business, By SEANNA ADCOX  August 05, 2017 A decade ago, utilities were persuading politicians around the country to let them spend big to go nuclear…..

With a dozen or more nuclear power projects being developed around the nation, cost savings could be found through simultaneous construction.

State legislators were sold. In South Carolina, they even passed a law allowing utilities to charge customers up front and to recoup their investments even if the projects never produced a kilowatt. Several other Southern states also passed “pay-as-you-go” laws.

This week, having spent more than $10 billion, executives with South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper acknowledged that all their assumptions were wrong.

Worse still: Consumers may have to pay billions more on the rusting remains of two partially-built reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia.

“When we started, there was talk of a nuclear renaissance restarting a whole industry in the U.S.,” said Santee Cooper’s chief financial officer, Jeff Armfield. He was among several executives recommending the project be abandoned. The board of the state-owned utility unanimously agreed at a public meeting Monday.

Most of the 18 nuclear projects pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a decade ago have been aborted or suspended indefinitely. None of the 7 projects the NRC licensed are operational. Only one is still being built, in Georgia, at a cost of $100 million a month. Southern Company financial documents filed Wednesday say the project, slated to cost $14 billion, could cost $25 billion or more if completed…….http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/08/05/billions-lost-in-nuclear-power-projects-with-more-bills-due.html

August 7, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Smoke from British Columbia temporarily masking heat to Southern USA States

The Pacific Northwest’s fiery week warns of hotter times to come https://grist.org/cities/the-pacific-northwests-fiery-week-warns-of-hotter-times-to-come/ It’s feeling a little apocalypse-y in the Pacific Northwest this week.

August 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

New UN sanctions on North Korea: US, South Korea pleased, China is wary

US, South Korea laud new UN sanctions on Pyongyang, Aljazeera, 6 Aug 17   Fresh UN sanctions come amid ASEAN meeting, where Chinese minister is urging North Korean official to abide by measures. The United States, China, Japan and South Korea have all welcomed tough new UN sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes…….

Meanwhile, Japan said it was time to exert more “efffective pressure” on Pyongyang rahter than to pursue dialogue.

“Now is not the time for dialogue but the time to increase effective pressure on North Korea so that they will take concrete actions towards de-nuclearisation,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Toshihide Ando told a news conference in Manila.

The diplomats are meeting in Manila, the Philippine capital, as foreign ministers from across Asia gather for a regional ASEAN summit. …..

China’s vote on new UN sanctions helped clear the way for the 15-0 vote on Saturday.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Beijing, said that China is always careful when dealing with North Korea.

“The last thing China wants to see is North Korea being pushed to the point of its own self-destruction,” he said. “That is almost a worst-case scenario.” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/south-korea-praise-sanctions-north-korea-170806045555844.html

August 7, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

China confident about new sanctions on North Korea: Trump prepared for “preventive war”

China Counting on Sanctions to Block North Korea Nuclear Push, Bloomberg , By Keith Zhai  and  Kambiz Foroohar    August 7, 2017, 
  • Measure aims to cut $1 billion a year from Pyongyang’s exports
  • Trump’s security adviser says ‘preventive’ war an option
China expressed confidence that new United Nations sanctions would help bring North Korea to the negotiating table to end its push for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho to calmly react to measures to curb its exports and avoid more provocations when they met on Sunday in Manila, where diplomats from more than 20 countries are attending a security forum. Wang, who also called for the U.S. and South Korea to reduce tensions, said after meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the sanctions “created the conditions to find a breakthrough.”

“The goal is to effectively block the DPRK’s nuclear development process,” Wang told reporters in Manila. “Sanctions are needed but not the ultimate goal. The purpose is to pull the peninsula nuclear issue back to the negotiating table, and to seek a final solution.”

As North Korea’s main ally and biggest trading partner, China’s role is crucial to pressuring leader Kim Jong Un into halting his push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the U.S. mainland…….

Many analysts see the North Korean program as too advanced for sanctions to make much difference, and doubt the country will ever completely give up nuclear weapons……

Trump isn’t ruling out a “preventive war” to stop North Korea from being able to threaten the U.S., National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in an interview with MSNBC done earlier in the week and broadcast Saturday. The danger posed by North Korea was “a grave threat,” he said.

“If they had nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States, it’s intolerable from the president’s perspective,” McMaster told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt. Even so, the U.S. would prefer to resolve the threat “short of what would be a very costly war in terms of the suffering of, mainly, the South Korean people,” McMaster said. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-06/china-confident-un-sanctions-can-block-north-korea-nuclear-push

August 7, 2017 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

By the end of the century, extreme weather could kill 150,000 people each year in Europe

Extreme weather could kill 150,000 people each year in Europe by the end of the century, say scientists. Hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to deadly weather events by 2100, researchers warn, Independent, Andrew Griffin Science Reporter  @_andrew_griffin 5 Aug 17 , More than 150,000 people could die as a result of climate change each year in Europe by the end of the century, shocking new research has found.

The number of deaths caused by extreme weather events will increase 50-fold and two in three people on the continent will be affected by disasters, the study – that serves as a stark warning of the deadly impact of global warming – found.

The research by European Commission scientists lays out a future where hundreds of thousands of people die from heatstroke, heart and breathing problems, and flash flooding. It describes a world where droughts bring food shortages, people are at an increased risk of being killed by disease and infection, and the countryside is ravaged by wildfires.

  • It used historical records of extreme weather events and combined them with projections of the damage of climate change and changes in the population to project how, where and who will die from the effects of global warming.
  • In what they say is a “much needed wake-up call” to governments across the continent, campaign groups insisted that action is needed now to avoid being responsible for deaths across the world.“This is a stark warning showing why we need greater action on climate change fast,” said Friends of the Earth campaigner Donna Hume. “People across the globe are already dying due to extreme weather events and without concerted action this will get worse, including right here in Europe.

    “This fate can be avoided but only if governments get serious about making the switch away from dirty fossil fuels. Three quarters of existing coal, oil and gas has to remain unused if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change – so why is the UK Government intent on digging and drilling for more across the British countryside?

    “It’s time to ditch plans for fracking and new coal mines and instead invest in the renewable energy revolution.”……….

  • Yearly deaths could soar 50 times from 3,000 between 1981 and 2010 to 152,000 between 2071 and 2100, the research published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health found.Most of those people will die from heatwaves, which could cause 99 per cent of all weather-related deaths. Fatalities will surge from 2,700 per year now to 151,500 each year by 2071.
  • Such catastrophic global warming will hit the UK too, killing people at a similar rate. By 2080, up to 7,500 Britons could be dead from heatwaves, cold snaps and flooding.“With a one-in-three chance of record rainfall in England and Wales each winter, flooding is the most significant impact of climate change in the UK,” said Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven. “And yet the Government’s own advisers have warned that ministers have no coherent plan to deal with this threat…….
  • But much of the danger will come in southern Europe, where almost everyone will be affected by weather-related disasters.The study looked at the impact of the seven most dangerous forms of extreme weather events: heatwaves, cold snaps, wildfires, droughts, river and coastal floods and windstorms, in the 28 EU member states as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Researchers analysed 2,300 disasters records from between 1981 and 2010 and combined them with projections of how climate change will progress and what it will do to populations.

    Scientists found one reduction in deaths: the number of people killed by cold snaps. But that was only a small reduction and was clearly not enough to outweigh any of the other dangers.

    And they said that 10 per cent of the risk would come from developments other than climate change, such as population growth, migration and urbanisation.

  • The caution comes as a deadly heatwave dubbed “Lucifer” spreads across Europe. Authorities in several countries have issued health warnings and temperatures have been registered as high as 47C, fanning dozens of forest fires in Italy, France, Spain, Macedonia and Albania. ……
  • The research assumed that there would be no reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and that there would be no improvements in the policies used to reduce the effects of the extreme weather events it studied…..http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/deaths-year-climate-change-global-warming-extreme-weather-events-2100-150000-a7877461.html

August 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, health | Leave a comment

USA: Georgia’s “Jenga” nuclear reactors

Kempner: Georgia Power’s nuclear tower teeters; EMCs ‘concerned’ By Matt Kempner – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6 Aug 17,  

You know, the one where you take turns pulling out a block at a time, hoping not to topple the teetering tower.

How many pieces can be pulled out before Georgia Power’s nuclear expansion at Plant Vogtle metaphorically collapses and takes with it billions of dollars in consumer money?

The few remaining blocks left at the project’s base look shaky to me. (Well, except maybe Georgia Power’s eagerness to continue with a project the state ensures will be delightfully profitable for the power company even though Vogtle is billions of dollars over budget and years behind on completion.)………

Some elected members of the Georgia Public Service Commission rushed to put distance between South Carolina’s project and the Vogtle one they green lighted and showered with love……..

PSC chairman Stan Wise pounded out a statement highlighting “the dissimilarities of these projects.”

This is ironic, because just last year, Georgia Power stressed to the PSC just how similar the two projects are. (That served Georgia Power’s interests at the time because it wanted the regulators to give the company essentially the same sweetheart deal that South Carolina regulators had given SCANA.)

A consultant for the Vogtle team concluded the project is “sufficiently similar to Summer Units 2 and 3 so that one could reasonably compare construction outcomes. This is proven by the fact that there are many similarities in the EPC contracts, generally the same primary plant equipment suppliers, similarities in construction milestone dates, similarities in construction contractors, and evidence that GPC and SCE&G have been and continue to collaborate on the design, construction, and training on these projects.”

Here’s a few more similarities: Both projects suffer soaring costs and stretched timetables. Also last week, Southern disclosed figures suggesting the total price of Vogtle may be close to double the original forecast. And the first juice won’t flow from a new reactor before February 2021 at the earliest, it said, more than a year later than the previous target.

There really are differences between the Georgia and South Carolina projects, though. One of the most important is that there are a bunch more players involved in — and at risk on — the Vogtle expansion.

And those are the blocks anyone wondering about the future of nuclear expansion in Georgia should be eyeballing. (Building nuclear plants is generally a group project to mitigate the massive risk. Because who would be so nutty as to try to do it on their own?)

Georgia Power is managing partner on Vogtle, with just under 50 percent of an ownership stake in the expansion. But also in the mix with almost a third of the ownership is Oglethorpe Power, which represents dozens of community electric membership corporations in Georgia. Most are at risk on this project, too.

The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, owned by bunches of small city power systems across the state, has nearly a quarter of the Vogtle ownership. And the city of Dalton has a small piece of the project.

Every one of those players has a different comfort (or fear) level on sticking with Vogtle. I suspect leaders of EMCs may be among the most nervous……..

Some other utilities limited their exposure to Vogtle early on.

MEAG, the body representing city utilities, sold rights (and cost responsibilities) for two-thirds of the project’s first 20 years of power to PowerSouth in Alabama and JEA in Jacksonville, Fla. That’s according to Marietta’s mayor, Steve “Thunder” (fun, right?) Tumlin, who is on MEAG’s board.

“We spread the risks,” he told me.

If the Vogtle expansion gets killed, “it would hurt, but not kill” the Marietta system, Tumlin said. Customer power bill rates might go up “a few percentage points.”

So far, he said, the consortium of Vogtle owners has “steadfastly stood together and is not panicking.” But they have to be convinced it makes sense to stick with the program.

Otherwise?

Jenga!  https://www.myajc.com/business/kempner-georgia-power-nuclear-tower-teeters-emcs-concerned/wJb830Vfybvq2shcFxxc5H/

August 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Never mind Trump – the market is moving away from fossil fuels

Trump falls flat with climate change retreat, Markets, not politics, drive energy sector’s push to cut greenhouse gas emission  Ft.com by: Ed Crooks, 7 Aug 17, US Industry and Energy Editor On Friday, the US state department submitted a notification to the UN that the administration intended to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement reached in 2015. The statement, confirming the decision that President Donald Trump announced in June, is at one level momentous. The world’s largest economy and second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is quitting a deal that the governments of leading European countries have described as “a vital instrument for our planet”. In terms of the consequences for the global energy industry, however, its impact has so far been negligible.

Of course, the full implications have yet to play out. But in the nine weeks since Mr Trump announced that leaving the agreement would be “a reassertion of America’s sovereignty”, energy companies around the world have been making plans that suggest their views on the outlook have not changed in any significant way.
 The most important reason for that is that moves towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions are going with the grain of energy markets, regardless of political decisions. The plunging costs of renewable power and electricity storage, the rise of electric cars, the availability of cheap gas for power generation, and the prospect of abundant supplies of oil, for a while at least, all point towards investment decisions that would curb emissions.
 The comments from oil companies reporting earnings over recent weeks have provided a stark illustration of that point. For years, environmental groups have been raising concerns about stranded assets: projects that cannot be viable in a world where greenhouse gas emissions are constrained.
 When they first started making that argument, with oil at about $100 per barrel, it was often a tough sell, says Andrew Grant of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which has pioneered analysis in this area. Now, he adds, they are “pushing at an open door”.
 The central idea is that in a world where fossil fuel consumption is curtailed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, investment in high-cost assets is likely to be wasted………..
Whatever happens to international climate policy in the aftermath of Mr Trump’s decision, unless some other shock comes along to shake the industry out of its current mindset, downward pressure on costs and caution on investment decisions are likely to remain the prevailing rules. https://www.ft.com/content/2f687cfe-7abb-11e7-9108-edda0bcbc928

August 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration formally withdraws from climate agreement, aims to expand fossil fuel industries

Trump files notice to withdraw from Paris deal, plans instead to promote fossil fuels, REneweconomy, By Mark Hand on 7 August 2017 ThinkProgress The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations of its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement on Friday, explaining that the United States instead plans to work with countries to help them gain access to fossil fuels……..

The goal of expanding access to fossil fuels is part of Trump’s new “energy dominance” agenda where his administration will work with fossil fuel companies to turn the United States into an oil, natural gas, and coal exporting powerhouse.

The administration also wants to continue to export fracking technology developed in the United States to other countries.

The letter sent to the United Nations has no legal weight nor does it begin the process of withdrawing the United States from the pact of nearly 200 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rather, it is a political document that affirms Trump’s proclamation in June that the Paris agreement is a bad deal for the nation, the New York Times reported Friday.

According to the terms of the Paris agreement, no country can begin the withdrawal process until three years after the agreement enters into force and the withdrawal would not take effect for one year after that date.

The Paris agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. Therefore, the United States cannot fully withdraw until November 4, 2020, one day after the next presidential election.

The next president could decide to rejoin the agreement if Trump does not win a second term………

Since June, the California legislature voted to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program until 2030. The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted several climate and energy resolutions advancing renewable energy, committing to sustainable infrastructure development, and standing by the Paris agreement.

A network of cities, states, businesses, and colleges have united to declare “We Are Still In,” and provide a platform for local leaders to support the commitments of the Paris agreement.

The movement’s 2,275 signatories represent $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy, covering nine states, 242 cities, 1,700 businesses and investors, and 315 colleges and universities…….Thousands of American CEOs, university presidents, governors, and mayors have decided to fill the gap left by the federal government..http://reneweconomy.com.au/trump-files-notice-withdraw-paris-deal-plans-instead-promote-fossil-fuels-90173/

August 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment