nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

USA would consider direct talks with North Korea, eventually – Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan

US OFFICIAL SAYS NOT RULING OUT EVENTUAL DIRECT TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA, Eye Witness News, 18 Oct 17,

Tension has soared following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.  Reuters |  

TOKYO/UNITED NATIONS – The United States is not ruling out the eventual possibility of direct talks with North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan said on Tuesday, hours after Pyongyang warned nuclear war might break out at any moment.

Talks between the adversaries have long been urged by China in particular, but Washington and its ally Japan have been reluctant to sit down at the table while Pyongyang continues to pursue a goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

“Eventually, we don’t rule out the possibility of course of direct talks,” Sullivan said in Tokyo after talks with his Japanese counterpart……..http://ewn.co.za/2017/10/17/us-official-says-not-ruling-out-eventual-direct-talks-with-north-korea

Advertisements

October 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Quitting Iran deal would ruin 12yrs’ work, threaten nuclear war – ICAN

Quitting Iran deal would ruin 12yrs’ work, threaten nuclear war – rep for Nobel Peace Prize-winner Rt.com,  17 Oct, 2017

Washington’s threats to walk out of the Iran nuclear deal is a critical moment for global nuclear non-proliferation, as it risks uprooting over a decade of diplomatic work and bring the world on the verge of a nuclear war, Jean-Marie Collin of ICAN France told RT.

Collin, coordinator of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for France, which was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, told RT he believes the US is putting the world’s safety in jeopardy by threatening to quit the nuclear deal.

Defending the agreement, Collin argued that no deal could possibly please all sides, as the ability to compromise lies in the nature of every agreement.

“Maybe it’s not the best agreement that we obtained, but you know, an agreement is never the best,” he said, adding that the deal should be considered a success as it reduces the chances of a major nuclear conflict breaking out.

“The important fact is that we arrived [there] after 12 years of diplomatic work, we did not have any war, we did not have any conflict with Iran and the rest of the world,” Collin said.

The deal stuck between Iran and the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany in 2015 should not be a subject to revision, as it would undermine the result of a decades-long negotiation process, Collin said, saying “the deal is the deal.”

You cannot ask to revise the deal,” he stressed, pointing out that it will be possible to renegotiate some of the provisions only after they expire in 2025, but not before.

“Maybe some state will want to add some new paragraphs, some new rules, it’s a possibility we cannot deny just now 10 years before,” he said.

Meanwhile, the statements by US President Donald Trump leave the deal’s fate hanging in the balance, Collin argued, as after Washington withdraws, Tehran will follow suit…….https://www.rt.com/news/406929-iran-deal-revise-ican/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Trump’s “Relation to Reality” is Dangerous to Us All

Here’s how Trump’s ‘malignant narcissism’ will end his presidency, according to psychiatrists — and it’s going to be wild  HTTPS://WWW.RAWSTORY.COM/2017/09/HERES-HOW-TRUMPS-MALIGNANT-NARCISSISM-WILL-END-HIS-PRESIDENCY-ACCORDING-TO-PSYCHIATRISTS-AND-ITS-GOING-TO-BE-WILD/ SARAH K. BURRIS, 12 SEP 2017 

Dr. Lance Dodes is one of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts who came together to give an educated assessment of President Donald Trump for a new book. In an interview with Salon, Dodes explained the consensus among the professors is that “the evidence suggesting that Donald Trump may have serious mental health problems is overwhelming.”

 Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton on Duty to Warn: Trump’s “Relation to Reality” is Dangerous to Us All

No other medical practitioner is restricted by confidentiality the way psychiatrists are, but Trump is no one’s patient. Many trained in mental health can observe Trump and match his speech and behavior patterns to specific disorders. That’s as far as anyone can go without doing an actual in-person exam of Trump.

Dodes began with a diagnosis of “antisocial personality” and the qualities that people who have that exhibit. Comparing it to Trump, he thinks this is one of Trump’s problems.

“It is people who lie and cheat,” Dodes explained as part of the qualities Trump exhibits. “Everybody lies some of the time, but in this instance we mean people who lie as a way of being in the world, to manage relationships and also to manage your feelings about yourself. People who cheat and steal from others. People who lack empathy … the lack of empathy is a critical aspect of it. People who are narcissistic.”

He went on to say that Trump’s case of “malignant narcissism” is particularly acute because he also seems detached from reality when he is agitated. An example is Trump’s boasting of his crowd size being the largest in history, despite proof to the contrary.

“That is very troublesome because what it means is that he needs to believe it,” Dodes told Salon. “He is able to give up reality in exchange for his wished-for belief. Sometimes we call that a delusion.”

He said that in the past many have refrained from using the word “delusional” to describe Trump because it can be confused with people who think they’re the Queen of England or the second coming of Christ. However, “Trump has a fluid sense of reality, which is a sign of a very sick individual,” Dodes said.

Sociopathy is another sign of a mentally ill person. The intersection of cheating, lying and having an emotional disorder typically converge to sociopathy.

“It is not just bad behavior that people have to lie and cheat the way he does, it is an incapacity to treat other people as full human beings,” Dodes said. “That is why his focus is on humiliating others to aggrandize himself, as he did in the Republican primaries when he was debating and calling people names.”

Trump has done the same with women, LGBT people, immigrants, those with special needs and others. Part of being a human being is seeing the plight of others and feeling something. When Trump fails to see the harm in separating immigrants from children it shows his lack of empathy.

Trump manages to score supporters regardless and Dodes explained this is because many search for strong leaders while others are suspicious of them.

“As children, we all want to believe that our parents are good and strong and great and will protect us forever,” he told Salon. “So if you have someone who comes along say, ‘I am good and strong and great and I will protect you forever,’ a certain number of people will follow that person.” For many, Trump is the strong parent being attacked by media or Democrats and they want to protect him.

People trust that they’ll speak up for him, the problem, according to Dodes, is that Trump is a liar, so it’s “a one-sided bargain.”

“Trump is a very primitive man. He is also a man who has a fundamental, deep psychological defect,” he said. “It is expressed in his inability to empathize with others and his lack of genuine loyalty to anyone. You will notice that Trump wants everyone to be loyal to him, but he is loyal to nobody.”

Being a narcissist doesn’t make someone evil or dangerous, according to Dodes, but Trump’s other questionable qualities are what make it concerning and defines it as “malignant.”

As for how this all ends for Trump, Dodes has two possible scenarios for the presidency. First, if there’s a “Reichstag fire”-type event that Trump can use to attack his opposition, the country will rally around him. Dodes thinks it will be North Korea and he’ll end up dropping bombs on the country and the dominoes will begin to fall in Asia.

The second piece involves the Republican Party and the point at which they abandon Trump to preserve their own political careers. They’ll either invoke the 25th Amendment or impeach him. If that happens, Dodes thinks Trump will “cut bait” and leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

“Trump will resign and say, ‘I am still the best and the only savior, and these evil people and their evil media have forced me out,’” Dodes told Salon. “He will keep his constituency, he’ll leave with honor in his own mind and by the way, keep his businesses.”

 

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

October 17 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Puerto Rico hurricane shows islands must have renewable energy” • The recent storms remind us of the many advantages of renewables and one particular solution stands out: microgrids. These localized electric grids allow communities to keep power even if centralized systems go down. And there is really no limit to their scalability. [Climate Home]

Solar array with interesting tracking system (Photo: Deposit Photos)

¶ “Turnbull dumps clean energy target for ‘national energy guarantee'” • The Turnbull government has formally abandoned the idea of a Clean Energy Target, proposed by chief scientist Alan Finkel and endorsed by nearly all Australians, in favor of a new policy that will protect fossil fuel generation and slow down the uptake of renewable energy. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

¶ Zero energy buildings produce renewable power, sending it to the grid when they can and drawing it from the grid when…

View original post 749 more words

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another Historic Storm: Surreal Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force

robertscribbler

“Ophelia is breaking new ground for a major hurricane. Typically those waters [are] much too cool for anything this strong. I really can’t believe I’m seeing a major just south of the Azores.” — National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake on Twitter.

*****

Warmer than normal ocean temperatures due to human-forced climate change are now enabling major hurricanes to threaten Northern Europe. A region that was traditionally considered primarily out of the range of past powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes under 20th Century climatology. One that, in a warmer world, is increasingly under the gun.

(Ophelia roars over Ireland. Image source: NASA Worldview.)

On October 14, Ophelia hit major hurricane status as it moved swiftly toward Europe. Packing 115 mph maximum sustained winds over a region of ocean where we’ve never recorded this kind of powerful storm before, Ophelia set its sights on Ireland. Crossing over warmer than normal…

View original post 752 more words

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coal Plants Are Closing – But Why?

By Carlos Gamino Coal plants all over the country are closing – most notably in Texas – despite President Trump’s campaign promises to increase coal jobs and bring the industry roaring back to life. Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt claimed that there was a “war on coal,” but that doesn’t seem to […]

via Coal Plants Are Closing – But Why? — attorneycarlosagamino

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 16 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “The war on coal is over. Coal lost.” • According to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, many old American coal power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas, and new coal power plants aren’t being built because they’ve become more expensive than natural gas, wind, and solar energy. [The Guardian]

Fish ponds in China with floating solar and wind
turbines (Photo: VCG | VCG via Getty Images)

¶ “Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world” • The UK’s wind energy industry is celebrating. Last month, the cost of wind power dropped dramatically to undercut by almost half the government’s projections for 2025. At £57.50/MWh, it is far cheaper than the £92.50 awarded in 2016 to Hinkley nuclear power station. [The Guardian]

¶ “Forget Abbott’s wishful thinking, climate change is here” • As Prime Minister…

View original post 793 more words

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Take Action: Tell Your Senators to Vote Against EPA Nominee with Chemical Industry Ties

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Crony-Capitalism. Is this us? (Click image to read the fine print.)

GR: The Trump/Republican choices for government office are people who 1) lack experience or 2) have close ties to businesses or 3) wish to profit from their positions (For example, Rex Tillerson’s huge Exxon Mobile oil deal with Russia). The instance described below is the second type.

“Tell your U.S. Senators to oppose the Trump Administration’s nominee for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Michael L. Dourson, Ph.D., who has spent a good deal of his career helping chemical companies resist restrictions on their toxic compounds. The U.S. Senate’s August 20 hearing on Dr. Dourson’s nomination, was abruptly postponed on August 19, with no reason offered, but later held on October 4 under a cloud of controversy.

Write your U.S. Senators now!

“Critics, including former EPA officials, Congressional Democrats, and public health scientists say that Dr. Dourson’s close ties to…

View original post 199 more words

October 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2017 – a catastrophic year for the nuclear industry – downturn in China, USA, and globally

More disastrous news for the nuclear power industry. In 2017 alone:
– clear signs of a major nuclear slow-down in China – the last remaining hope for the industry.
– the US nuclear power industry is in the middle of a full-blown crisis
– a seriously anti-nuclear government has been elected in South Korea
– Taiwan has reaffirmed a nuclear phase-out by 2025
– the South African nuclear power program was ruled illegal by the High Court and probably won’t be revived
– Switzerland voted in a referendum to phase out nuclear power (while all of Germany’s reactors will be closed by the end of 2022 and all of Belgium’s will be closed by the end of 2025).
– huge problems in the UK and France
– India’s nuclear power program is going nowhere and the government has implicitly acknowledged that plans for French EPR reactors and US AP1000 reactors will likely be shelved
– Japan’s nuclear power program remains in a miserable state
– Russia’s Rosatom has acknowledged that the pipeline for new reactors is fast drying up
Meanwhile, the growth of renewables has been spectacular and will grow even faster over the coming years. Renewables will be producing 3 times as much electricity as nuclear power by 2022.

—————————————————————————————————————————
Nuclear power’s deepening crisis, Jim Green, 16 Oct 2017, www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19354&page=0

This year has been catastrophic for nuclear power and just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any worse for the industry, it did. There are clear signs of a nuclear slow-down in China, the only country with a large nuclear new-build program.

China’s nuclear slow-down is addressed in the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report and also in an August 2017 article by former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd. China’s nuclear program “has continued to slow sharply”, Kidd writes, with the most striking feature being the paucity of approvals for new reactors over the past 18 months. China Nuclear Engineering Corp., the country’s leading nuclear construction firm, noted earlier this year that the “Chinese nuclear industry has stepped into a declining cycle” because the “State Council approved very few new-build projects in the past years”.

Kidd continues: “Other signs of trouble are the uncertainties about the type of reactor to be utilised in the future, the position of the power market in China, the structure of the industry with its large state owned enterprises (SOEs), the degree of support from top state planners and public opposition to nuclear plans.”

Over-supply has worsened in some regions and there are questions about how many reactors are needed to satisfy power demand. Kidd writes: “[T]he slowing Chinese economy, the switch to less energy-intensive activities, and over-investment in power generation means that generation capacity outweighs grid capacity in some provinces and companies are fighting to export power from their plants.”

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030, “not unusual only a few years ago, now seem very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ‒nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 won’t happen if the current slow-down sets in.

Kidd states that nuclear power in China may become “a last resort, rather as it is throughout most of the world.” The growth of wind and solar “dwarfs” new nuclear, he writes, and the hydro power program “is still enormous.”

Chinese government agencies note that in the first half of 2017, renewables accounted for 70% of new capacity added (a sharp increase from the figure of 52% in calendar 2016), thermal sources (mainly coal) 28% and nuclear just 2%. Earlier this month, Beijing announced plans to stop or delay work on 95 GW of planned and under-construction coal-fired power plants, so the 70% renewables figure is set for a healthy boost.

Crisis in the US

The plan to build two AP1000 reactors in South Carolina ‒ abandoned in July after A$11.5 ‒ 13.3 billion was spent on the partially-built reactors ‒ is now the subject of multiple lawsuits and investigations including criminal probes. Westinghouse, the lead contractor, filed for bankruptcy protection in March. Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba is selling its most profitable business (memory chips) to stave off bankruptcy.

The cost of the two reactors in South Carolina was estimated at A$12.4 billion in 2008 and the latest estimate ‒ provided after the decision to abandon the project ‒ was A$31.6 billion. Cost increases of that scale are the new norm for nuclear. Cost estimates for two French reactors under construction in France and Finland have tripled.

Pro-nuclear commentator Dan Yurman discussed the implications of the decision to abandon the VC Summer project in South Carolina in a September 11 post:

“It is the failure of one of the largest capital construction projects in the US Every time another newspaper headline appears about what went wrong at the VC Summer project, the dark implications of what it all means for the future of the nuclear energy industry get all the more foreboding. … Now instead of looking forward to a triumph for completion of two massive nuclear reactors generating 2300 MW of CO2 emission free electricity, the nation will get endless political fallout, and lawsuits, which will dominate the complex contractual debris, left behind like storm damage from a hurricane, for years to come.”

The only other nuclear new-build project in the US ‒ two partially-built AP1000 reactors in Georgia ‒ is hanging on by a thread. Georgia’s Public Service Commission is reviewing a proposal to proceed with the reactors despite the bankruptcy filing of the lead contractor (Westinghouse), lengthy delays (5.5 years behind schedule) and a doubling of the cost estimate (the original estimate was A$17.9 billion and the latest estimates range from A$32.5 ‒ 38.4 billion for the two reactors).

No other reactors are under construction in the US and there is no likelihood of any construction starts in the foreseeable future. The US reactor fleet is one of the oldest in the world ‒ 44 out of 99 reactors have been operating for 40 years or more ‒ so decline is certain. Six reactors have been shut down in the US over the past five years and many others are on the chopping block.

Indicative of their desperation, some nuclear advocates in the US (and to a lesser extent the UK) are openly acknowledging the contribution of nuclear power (and the civil nuclear fuel cycle) to the production of nuclear weapons and using that as an argument to sharply increase the massive subsidies the nuclear power industry already receives. That’s a sharp reversal from their usual furious denial of any connections between the ‘peaceful atom’ and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Global downturn

Elsewhere, the nuclear industry is in deep malaise and has suffered any number of set-backs this year. Pro-nuclear lobby groups are warning about nuclear power’s “rapidly accelerating crisis“, a “crisis that threatens the death of nuclear energy in the West“, and noting that “the industry is on life support in the United States and other developed economies“.

The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever” according to former EDF director Gérard Magnin. The only reactor under construction in France is six years behind schedule, the estimated cost has escalated from A$5 billion to A$16 billion, and the regulator recently announced that the pressure vessel head of the reactor will need to be replaced by 2024 following a long-running quality-control scandal. The two French nuclear utilities face crippling debts (A$56.5 billion in the case of EDF) and astronomical costs (up to A$151 billion to upgrade ageing reactors, for example), and survive only because of repeated government bailouts.

In South Africa, a High Court judgement on April 26 ruled that much of the country’s nuclear new-build program is without legal foundation. There is little likelihood that the program will be revived given that it is shrouded in corruption scandals and President Jacob Zuma will leave office in 2019 (if he isn’t ousted earlier).

Public support for South Korea’s nuclear power program has been in free-fall in recent years, in part due to a corruption scandal. Incoming President Moon Jae-in said on June 19 that his government will halt plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifespan of existing plants beyond 40 years.

In June, Taiwan’s Cabinet reiterated the government’s resolve to phase out nuclear power by 2025.

In the UK, nuclear industry lobbyist Tim Yeo says the compounding problems facing the industry “add up to something of a crisis for the UK’s nuclear new-build programme.” The estimated cost of the only two reactors under construction was recently increased to A$46.2 billion (A$23.1 billion each) and they are eight years behind schedule.

India’s nuclear industry keeps promising the world and delivering very little ‒ nuclear capacity is 6.2 GW and nuclear power accounted for 3.4% of the country’s electricity generation last year.

In Japan, Fukushima clean-up and compensation cost estimates have doubled and doubled again and now stand at A$245 billion. Only five reactors are operating in Japan, compared to 54 before the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.

In Russia, Rosatom’s deputy general director Vyacheslav Pershukov said in June that the world market for new nuclear power plants is shrinking, and the possibilities for building new large reactors abroad are almost exhausted. He said Rosatom expects to be able to find customers for new reactors until 2020-2025 but “it will be hard to continue.”

In Switzerland, voters supported a May 21 referendum on a package of energy policy measures including a ban on new nuclear power reactors. Thus Switzerland has opted for a gradual nuclear phase-out and all reactors will probably be closed by the early 2030s, if not earlier (while all of Germany’s reactors will be closed by the end of 2022 and all of Belgium’s will be closed by the end of 2025).

Globally, the industry’s biggest problem is the ageing of the current fleet of reactors. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that just to maintain current capacity of 392 GW, about 320 new reactors (320 GW) would have to be built by 2050 to replace retired reactors. That’s 10 new reactors each year. A nuclear ‘renaissance’ has supposedly been underway over the past decade yet on average only five reactors have come online each year.

Comparison with renewables

The IAEA has released the 2017 edition of its International Status and Prospects for Nuclear Power report series. It states that the share of nuclear power in total global electricity generation has decreased for 10 years in a row, to under 11% in 2015, yet “this still corresponds to nearly a third of the world’s low carbon electricity production.” In other words, renewables (24.5%) generate more than twice as much electricity as nuclear power (10.5%) and the gap is growing rapidly.

Five years from now, renewables will likely be generating three times as much electricity as nuclear reactors. The International Energy Agency (IEA ‒ not to be confused with the IAEA) recently released a five-year global forecast for renewables, predicting capacity growth of 43% (920 GW) by 2022. The latest forecast is a “significant upwards revision” from last year’s forecast, the IEA states, largely driven by expected solar power growth in China and India.

The IEA forecasts that the share of renewables in global power generation will reach 30% in 2022, up from 24% in 2016. By 2022, nuclear’s share will be around 10% and renewables will be out-generating nuclear by a factor of three. Non-hydro renewable electricity generation has grown eight-fold over the past decade and will probably surpass nuclear by 2022, or shortly thereafter, then leave nuclear power in its wake as renewables expand and the ageing nuclear fleet atrophies.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, China, politics, USA | Leave a comment

For the moment, America is staying in the Iran nuclear agreement

US to stay in Iran deal for now: officials, (Reuters) THE AUSTRALIAN, RICHARD COWAN AND DAVID MORGAN, 16 OCT 17, Senior Trump administration officials say the United States is committed to remaining part of the Iran nuclear accord for now, despite President Donald Trump’s criticisms of the deal and his warnings that he might pull out.

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, says Tehran is complying with the 2015 nuclear accord intended to increase Iran’s accountability in return for the lifting of some economic sanctions.

“I think right now, you’re going to see us stay in the deal,” Haley told NBC’s Meet the Press.

In a speech on Friday, Trump laid out an aggressive approach on Iran and said he would not certify it is complying with the nuclear accord, despite a determination by the UN’s nuclear watchdog that Tehran is meeting its terms.

The Republican president threw the issue to the US Congress, which has 60 days to decide whether to reinstate US sanctions. He warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated”.

So far, none of the other signatories to the deal – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran and the European Union – have cited serious concerns, leaving the US isolated…… http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/us-to-stay-in-iran-deal-for-now-officials/news-story/48e6f041c87304d1a8dabd4de8ef27c8

October 16, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Trump will provoke ‘nuclear arms race’ over North Korea – says Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton: Trump will provoke ‘nuclear arms race’ over North Korea, Guardian, 15 Oct 17, 
Former secretary of state refuses to say if successor Tillerson should go, as she decries Trump approach to Iran nuclear deal. 
Hillary Clinton has denounced Donald Trump’s bellicose language toward North Korea, believing his verbal aggression has rattled American allies and will set off a nuclear arms race in the region.

“We will now have an arms race – a nuclear arms race in East Asia,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN due to be broadcast on Sunday, in which she also criticised Trump’s threat to pull out of the international nuclear deal with Iran. “We will have the Japanese, who understandably are worried with missiles flying over them as the North Koreans have done, that they can’t count on America.”

Clinton, who was secretary of state under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013, stressed that she preferred a diplomatic solution; suggested Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric played into Kim Jong-un’s hands; and bemoaned Trump’s public undercutting of his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, regarding his attempts to work with China and establish talks with Pyongyang.

“Diplomacy, preventing war, creating some deterrents is slow, hard-going, difficult work,” said Clinton, who declined to answer when asked if Tillerson should resign. “And you can’t have impulsive people or ideological people who basically say, ‘Well, we’re done with you.”’

On Friday Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee, continued his war of words with the president when he told the Washington Post Trump had “castrated” Tillerson.

 “The greatest diplomatic activities we have are with China, and the most important, and they have come a long, long way,” Corker added. “Some of the things we are talking about are phenomenal. When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart.”…….. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/14/hillary-clinton-trump-nuclear-arms-race-north-korea

October 16, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Kobe Steel scandal and mismanagement is especially bad news for the nuclear industry

Kobe Steel Scandal Could Rattle Nuclear Industry http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Kobe-Steel-Scandal-Could-Rattle-Nuclear-Industry.html  

Kobe’s management admitted that its employees faked quality inspection reports on its steel and other metal products used domestically in automobiles, bullet trains and nuclear power stations. So far, corporate announcements have been vague, offering little clarity about the duration of the quality control lapses or, more important, the type of components involved.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.T) just announced that it replaced a Kobe-made piece of equipment, offering no other details. Kobe, however, is a major producer of nuclear power plants components. Even if quality control lapses did not extend to those operations, the onus may be on Kobe to prove its innocence.

 So what should we expect? If these QA/QC lapses began recently, it should have little or no effect on most of the nuclear assets in the United States. Most of them were built decades ago.

Plants under construction, however, or those recently completed are another matter. In the last period of nuclear new build in the U.S. (basically the 1970s), a relatively muscular Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) took its safety responsibilities seriously, and woe to the builder that thought the rules excessive.

Unfortunately, a raging period of inflation only added to the nuclear builder’s troubles. Toward the end of the decade, the only appropriate choice for some would have been between cigarette or blindfold. Those safety requirements added to plant cost. And in an attitude that today would seem remarkable, that fact didn’t deter the NRC’s administrators.

If a nuclear power plant has to shut down due to concerns regarding the integrity of Kobe’s products, it’s needless to say it could get expensive. A typical 1,000 MW nuclear facility operating at full capacity can generate annual revenues of between $500 million and $1 billion.

Unlike a coal or natural gas fired power plant, shutting a nuclear plant down does little to reduce costs. Most nuclear costs are fixed, that is, they are spent before the thing is even turned on. Therefore, the plant’s owner will likely try to foist extraordinary expenses like these onto consumers (this is not possible in competitive markets). Or, power plant owners can stand on their rights and demand compensation from Kobe. While perhaps fruitful, it’s doubtful this process would be brief.

Thus, investors in nuclear power have reason for some near-term heightened sense of concern. Questions will be asked as to the provenance of equipment and components. Certain corporations especially under duress might adopt “truth on the installment plan” policies. All the negative news is eventually disclosed—but only after PR efforts downplay the likelihood of meaningful corporate impact.

What’s an investor to do? At this stage, with so little information available, we can’t judge whether Kobe’s latest news will make any financial difference to the nuclear industry.

But it underlines the need for trust and compliance throughout the manufacturing and operating process within the industry. And perhaps more standardization.

This is the second major QA/QC scandal involving a steel supplier of nuclear reactor components. Le Creusot Forge, now part of France’s Areva, was similarly accused of fabricating data for nuclear plant components.

We’re reminded here of the great bridge builder Roebling. When informed that his suppliers had short-changed him, he reportedly responded that he assumed they would—and designed accordingly.

Do today’s nuclear plant builders have the same dim view of human nature as Roebling? If not, the Kobe story should be regarded as serious until you hear otherwise.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Britain and Germany join in commitment to the Iran nuclear agreement

Britain, Germany committed to Iran nuclear deal, says PM May’s office https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/15/britain-germany-committed-to-iran-nuclear-deal-theresa-mays-office-says.html

  • Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran
  • The U.S. decided earlier this week that it would decertify the agreement

Britain and Germany agreed on Sunday they remained committed to the nuclear deal with Iran after a U.S. decision to decertify the agreement, a spokeswoman said after a call between Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“They agreed the UK and Germany both remained firmly committed to the deal,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“They also agreed the international community needed to continue to come together to push back against Iran’s destabilizing regional activity, and to explore ways of addressing concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program.”

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Germany, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s 3 dysfunctional decisions regarding Iran and North Korea

Trump’s trifecta: thoughtless Iran folly strains his partners’ patience http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/trumps-trifecta-thoughtless-iran-folly-strains-his-partners-patience-20171014-gz0zgu.html, Mark Kenny 16 Oct 17, 

Perhaps it is his progress in fixing the North Korea crisis via Twitter, that has emboldened Donald Trump to choose now of all times, to ratchet up tensions with Tehran.Trump’s derision of what he has previously called the “worst deal ever” is characteristically inconsistent. Even the good bit. For example, balance his contemporary position on Iran against his contention that the crisis with Pyongyang should have been resolved before the rogue state had a nuclear capability. This makes sense. Yet Trump is blind to the argument’s obvious application to Iran – a country that was on the path to a nuclear capability but has agreed to stop, in exchange for sanctions being lifted, and its international bank accounts unfrozen.

While there are concerns over Iran’s behaviour (mostly outside the agreement’s purview, but not entirely), its nuclear retreat is a real-time, real-world example of how coordinated international pressure, coupled with a willingness to

While the Obama Administration was the locomotive force behind the 2015 agreement, it was a settlement between Tehran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Britain, Russia and the US – with the European Union tagging along.

Thus, it is a multi-lateral instrument annexed to UN Security Council resolution 2231, the text of which welcomes inter alia diplomatic efforts by the five plus Iran “to reach a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, culminating in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA]”.

It also notes explicitly “Iran’s reaffirmation in the JCPOA that it will under no circumstances ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons”.

Over the weekend, Trump threw that process into new uncertainty, by demanding that Congress and America’s allies introduce new tests for Iran’s compliance, including by dragging in elements outside the nuclear purview.

In so doing Trump has achieved the dysfunctional trifecta by: (i) putting the JCPOA deal at risk, and thus potentially increasing the prospect of Tehran’s return to a nuclear weapons path, (ii) showing contempt for America’s closest allies by demonstrating that he will act unilaterally against their interests at a whim, and (iii) signalling to North Korea, Iran, and any other adversary that there is little point in negotiating because even after a deal is made and complied with, the US can simply renege.

Tweet that.

 

October 16, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

For Britain’s nuclear industry, Brexit changes everything – could be the death knell

Brexit Is a Game Changer for the British Nuclear Industry, Bloomberg, By, Jonathan Stearns and Nikos Chrysoloras, 

  • U.K. withdrawal from nuclear treaty mirrors EU-exit challenges
  • Going it alone signals higher costs for companies, taxpayers

To understand the implications of Brexit, it helps to go nuclear.

 Of all the international regulatory challenges created by the U.K.’s impending departure from the European Union, the atomic-energy industry may best encapsulate the decision’s bottom-line effect: more bureaucracy and costs for a country that has long fought to curb both within the EU.
 Untwining the U.K. from decades of centralized European supervision of nuclear material for civilian use mirrors the broader Brexit process. Each involves abandoning treaty-bound organizations, re-establishing links on less integrated terms and, in the meantime, creating uncertainty for everybody from executives to researchers.

“Brexit is a complete game changer for the nuclear industry in Britain, altering the regulatory environment, creating major complexity and leading the way to higher costs for businesses, the state and ultimately the British taxpayer,” said Simone Tagliapietra, a research fellow on energy at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. “It’s a huge, self-inflicted problem.”

 Brexit Microcosm

The EU’s nuclear framework is a microcosm of the Brexit hurdles because, like Europe’s single market and free-trade deals, it offers the U.K. benefits that the British government is keen to retain after the country withdraws from the 28-nation bloc in March 2019. Yet the act of leaving makes preserving those advantages difficult or even impossible.

With negotiations on the divorce terms stalled, numerous industries in Europe are stepping up calls for transitional arrangements that would maintain the status quo between the time of Brexit and the entry into force of any permanent agreements on future U.K.-EU ties.

While the EU’s national governments retain many of the policy powers associated with nuclear energy, the Euratom treaty creates a federal structure for some key elements. The centralized features include non-proliferation inspections, supply agreements with non-EU nations and research funding, all of which will fall on Britain to arrange for the first time in four decades.

When notifying its plan to withdraw from the EU, the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May also announced its intention to quit Euratom, which is governed by the bloc’s institutions. The move disappointed the U.K. nuclear industry, which had argued that post-Brexit Britain should stay in Euratom.

Risk of Disruption

Britain is a leading European nuclear nation, with 15 reactors accounting for about a fifth of domestic electricity production. The British atomic-energy industry employs more than 65,000 people and features companies ranging from plant operator EDF Energy and developer Horizon Nuclear Power — a unit of Hitachi Ltd. — to fuel producer Westinghouse Electric Co. and uranium enricher Urenco Ltd…….

The U.K., Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency are united under a single non-proliferation agreement. Under the three-party accord, Euratom helps carry out IAEA-mandated inspections on civil nuclear facilities in Britain to ensure that no material is diverted for atomic weapons.

In leaving Euratom, the U.K. will have to negotiate an inspection agreement of its own with the Vienna-based IAEA and beef up the national nuclear authority. Britain held an initial discussion with the IAEA on a new accord in September, according to the agency. The country also published draft legislation on Oct. 11 to create a domestic nuclear-safeguards system to replace provisions under Euratom.

Nuclear Accords

Post-Brexit Britain will also no longer be covered by cooperation accords that Euratom has with a range of non-EU countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the U.S. As a result, the U.K. will have to negotiate its own such deals, known as Nuclear Cooperation Agreements, or NCAs, including with the EU itself…….

The outlook for nuclear research in the U.K. is also hazy. As a member of the EU and host of a nuclear-fusion project known as Joint European Torus, the country sees 56 million euros ($66 million) a year directed from the Euratom research budget to the JET site in Oxfordshire where around 500 people are employed and about 350 scientists from Europe visit annually.

The funds for JET, which is a prototype for the world’s largest nuclear-fusion project called ITER in France, are part of a 1.6 billion-euro Euratom research budget for 2014-2018. Britain will have to negotiate access as of 2019 to this scientific network with the EU, which requires non-member countries participating in its research programs to make a financial contribution. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-15/brexit-takes-bureaucracy-to-the-atomic-level-for-u-k-industry

October 16, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, UK | Leave a comment