nuclear-news

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

November 9 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Will the US put the lights out in the waning Coal Industry?” • Like the largest dinosaurs, the coal industry has put a giant footprint on the planet. In recent years it has played a cancerous role in global environmental problems. Global temperatures have already risen by nearly 1° C, and they are continuing the rise. [Industry Leaders Magazine]

Coal mine

¶ “A year after Trump’s win, coal is still losing to renewables” • It has been a year since President Trump’s election and his pledges to transform the energy markets have not exactly come to pass. In fact, what was true under President Barack Obama is still true: Coal’s generation is declining, and renewable’s share is growing fast. [Fairfield Daily Republic]

Science and Technology:

¶ HomeBiogas, which successfully launched its first home biodigester system on Indiegogo in early 2016, has been working to improve…

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November 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NTS Screw-Up of Testing of Nuclear Safety Related Components for AP1000 Nuclear Reactor (Toshiba-Westinghouse) — Mining Awareness +

Whether or not this particular problem was rectified, how many more screw-ups like this? And, is NTS doing testing for the NASA nuclear reactor projects, especially since it is in Huntsville? More pages here: https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1511/ML15113A338.pdf “NOTICE OF NONCONFORMANCE National Testing Services Docket No. 99900905 7800 Highway 20 West Report No. 2015-201 Huntsville, AL 35806 Based […]

via NTS Screw-Up of Testing of Nuclear Safety Related Components for AP1000 Nuclear Reactor (Toshiba-Westinghouse) — Mining Awareness +

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tens of Millions of litres of fresh water a day from the River Ehen is “a small amount” says Minister for Energy and Industry

Dear Tim, Many thanks for sight of the letter from the Minister for Energy and Industry Richard Harrington MP says that : “Sellafield Ltd takes water from a number of licensed abstraction points which is used on site in various forms (eg treated domestic water for welfare purposes and demineralised and raw water for use […]

via Tens of Millions of litres of fresh water a day from the River Ehen is “a small amount” says Minister for Energy and Industry —

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Upside Down America: Trump’s Shameful Opposition to Paris Puts U.S. Behind Syria

robertscribbler

We all know someone who thinks this way. Put a stack of scientific evidence in front of them that reaches to the moon, and they will still disbelieve that human-caused climate change is real, harmful, and getting to be so bad that it’s increasingly capable of wrecking our lives. It is the very definition of ‘head-in-sand’ thinking. A pro-fossil fuel PR and politically-driven neurosis that American ideologues and other quacks appear to have perfected — afflicting so many of us through the medium of viral misinformation.

But such views of denial have real and devastating consequences in that they have often sabotaged the necessary societal and governmental response to a growing crisis.

(Yesterday, democrats created a blue wave election in repudiation…

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November 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 8 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Lazard: Wind & Solar Power Costs Continue To Fall, Putting Coal & Nuclear At A Disadvantage” • Lazard’s new Levelized Cost of Energy report shows costs of onshore wind and solar fell while others did not. So just operating a coal-fired facility may now be more costly than building and operating a solar or wind power installation. [CleanTechnica]

MHI Vestas offshore wind farm

¶ “Hotel in One of Earth’s Driest Places Is Powered by the Sun” • Chile’s Atacama Desert is so dry that some parts of it have never seen precipitation, and there’s rarely lasting cloud-cover. While these conditions are hostile for human life, some businesses believe they are just right to host enough solar panels to power all of South America. [National Geographic]

¶ “White House admits Trump climate policies will destroy all US coastal property” • The massive climate report released by…

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November 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis:  Informal Labour, Local Citizens, Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management

On the mediated surface, Fukushima Daiichi has been used to prove to the world that a nuclear disaster of significant scale can be overcome and that people can survive and return to their normal lives. The government has concentrated on proving that it is safe for the Olympics, safe for tourism, safe to consume local produce, and safe to restart nuclear reactors.

The authorities have furnished people with the means by which to normalise sickness and pathologise anxiety to justify the return to nuclear power reliance, while suppressing those who seek to resist it.

And so we return to the basic problem that no nuclear reactor can operate without radiation-exposed labour,

 Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management ANU, Adam Broinowski, 8 Nov 17 

Nuclear workers are important as sentinels for a broader epidemic of radiation related diseases that may affect the general population.1

We live with contradictions everyday.2

Introduction

The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS), operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), since 11 March 2011 can be recognised as part of a global phenomenon that has been in development over some time. This disaster occurred within a social and political shift that began in the mid-1970s and that became more acute in the early 1990s in Japan with the downturn of economic growth and greater deregulation and financialisation in the global economy. After 40 years of corporate fealty in return for lifetime contracts guaranteed by corporate unions, as tariff protections were lifted further and the workforce was increasingly casualised, those most acutely affected by a weakening welfare regime were irregular day labourers, or what we might call ‘informal labour’.

During this period, many day labourers evacuated rented rooms (doya どや) and left the various yoseba (urban day labour market よせば, or lit. ‘meeting place’) to take up communal tent living in parks and on riverbanks, where they were increasingly victimised. With independent unions having long been rendered powerless, growing numbers of unemployed, unskilled and precarious youths (freeters フリーター) alongside older, vulnerable and homeless day labourers (these groups together comprising roughly 38 per cent of the workforce in 2015)3 found themselves not only lacking insurance or industrial protection but also in many cases basic living needs. With increasing deindustrialisation and capital flight, regular public outbursts of frustration and anger from these groups have manifested since the Osaka riots of 1992.4

As Mike Davis observed, an un(der)protected informal sector in cities and industrial zones around the world occurs where there is a dilution or absence of labour rights and is characterised by ‘semi-feudal kickbacks, bribes, tribal or gang loyalties and ethnic exclusion’.5 Whether on a construction site, on the pavement, or in a domestic employment situation, informal labour comprises a surplus or reserve army of mercenary, irregular or precarious workers who pay off their debt for the opportunity to work through the availability of their cheap labour power.

In this chapter, first I outline the conditions of irregular workers at nuclear power plants and the excess burden they have borne with the rise of nuclear labour in Japan since the 1970s. I then turn to post-3.11 conditions experienced by residents in radiation-contaminated areas. Contextualising these conditions within the genealogy of radiodosimetry standards, I seek to show, through personal interviews and localised responses, how those who are regularly exposed to radiation from Fukushima Daiichi are now confronting problems similar to those faced by informal nuclear labour for decades in Japan. This analysis shows how, after 40 years or more of environmental movements as discussed in Chapter Four, the struggle continues to find viable solutions to the systemic production of the intertwined problems of environmental crises and labour exploitation, and suggests how potential alternative directions for affected populations may lie in their mutual combination………

Conclusions

From this discussion, it is evident how an advanced capitalist nation-state deploys a disposable population of informal labour to absorb the dangers inherent to the use of large-scale nuclear technologies and its private extractive and accumulation practices. Since its inception, nuclear power has been regarded by some as a symbol of Japan’s postwar civilisational progress.100 At the same time, the health of many thousands of people has been endangered in exposures to radiation while harms have been perpetrated upon local communities and nuclear workers and the environment more broadly as millions of people have been integrated within the centralising and concentrating dynamic of the transnational nuclear power industry.

On the mediated surface, Fukushima Daiichi has been used to prove to the world that a nuclear disaster of significant scale can be overcome and that people can survive and return to their normal lives. The government has concentrated on proving that it is safe for the Olympics, safe for tourism, safe to consume local produce, and safe to restart nuclear reactors (with 25 reactors expected to be supplying 20 per cent total energy by 2030). The neoliberal disaster model adopted, in which the state prioritises the profit of private corporations and their wealth-creating strategies while minimising public services and pursuing deregulation (e.g. of labour conditions), is indicated not only in the official intention to rebuild the local economy of Fukushima Prefecture, but also to expand, including through its transnational nuclear industry, Japan’s financial, military and industrial sector after Fukushima. This reflects the priority given to both the interests of the utilities, banks and construction companies involved in the reconstruction program, and those of multinational corporations, foreign governments and international regulatory and financial institutions involved in this sector.

At the same time, the sovereign duty to protect the fundamental needs of the population and reflect majority will is secondary to these priorities. Unlike a natural disaster, owing to the materiality of radiation that continues to be dumped and vented into the environment, facilitating the return to pre-disaster conditions by forgetting and rebuilding communities in contaminated areas is a practice of illusion. Despite the claims of the Abe administration and other nuclear promoters, Japan’s safety standards cannot adequately insure against the seismic activities or extreme weather events and their impacts on that archipelago. The authorities have furnished people with the means by which to normalise sickness and pathologise anxiety to justify the return to nuclear power reliance, while suppressing those who seek to resist it. The wealth of a healthy society and environment cannot be traded for the putative convenience and economic benefits of nuclear power generation as they are not comparable values. Official denial of the steady accumulation and exposure to ‘low-level’ internal radiation in a growing segment of the population only aggravates rather than protects the affected communities from the stresses related to Fukushima Daiichi. This inescapably leads to the need to address greater systemic problems that underlie such disasters.

As the previous organic life of village communities in contaminated zones is transformed into retirement villages and ad-hoc industrial hubs for temporary workers, this alienation from food, land, community, history, the human body and nature itself is a warning of the growing negative costs of the rapid expropriation and consumption of the planetary commons under a globalised system. Just as nuclear energy is not the solution to climate disruption caused by reliance on fossil fuels in a global capitalist economy, nor are radiation exposures comparable to everyday risks in modern society (i.e. transport accidents). If introducing ‘mistakes’ into the human genome is to be wagered against the daily conveniences of ‘modern’ life then this aspect of modernity is unsustainable. Although somewhat anthropocentric, it is a timely reminder that the Nobel Prize laureate (1946) Herman Müller stated in 1956, ‘the genome is the most valuable treasure of humankind. It determines the life of our descendants and the harmonious development of the future generations’.101

And so we return to the basic problem that no nuclear reactor can operate without radiation-exposed labour, particularly of informal or irregular workers. If these populations refused to work and joined in support with a network of translocal groups on informal and alternative life projects for greater self-sufficiency such as micro-financing, small-scale and permaculture farming on non-contaminated land, renewable and decentralised energy production and distribution, or campaigns for greater distribution of wealth, better public education and health improvement, these communities and workers could be active agents in devising models that could eventually become viable for adaptation to larger human populations. This application at scale cannot come too soon in the present context of imminent exhaustion of the planetary commons from the systemic demands for relentless economic growth and accumulation of wealth and power for the few.

Acknowledgements……http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n2335/html/ch06.xhtml?referer=2335&page=11

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

South Africa’s President Zuma determined to push through a nuclear power deal

Zuma’s last ditch effort to ram through a nuclear power deal https://mg.co.za/article/2017-11-09-zumas-last-ditch-effort-to-ram-through-a-nuclear-power-deal, Hartmut Winkler President Jacob Zuma’s term of office has been characterised by an absence of vision and associated initiatives. Zuma is instead known for his inaction and overt stalling tactics. Examples include delays in setting up the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, announcing a new board for the state broadcaster, and delaying the release of a report on the future of university fees.

His recent dramatic push to fast-track an expensive and highly controversial nuclear power station build is therefore very much out of character. But Zuma’s advocacy of the nuclear build needs to be understood in terms of another hallmark of his presidency – state capture. This expression refers to the systematic takeover of state institutions by presidential allies and the resulting exploitation of institutions for commercial advantage and profit by his benefactors.

It’s already become clear who is likely to benefit from South Africa pursuing the option to build nuclear power stations. The list includes the Gupta brothers and Zuma’s son Duduzane through their links to the Shiva uranium mine.

And then there’s Zuma himself. Speculation about why the president appears to be favouring a deal with Russian company Rosatom ranges from allegations of grand scale individual kickbacks to alleged commitments linked to funding for the African National Congress.

 The controversy around the nuclear power option was precipitated three years ago when it emerged that the government had signed an agreement with Russia that paved the way for the use of Russian technology in planned new nuclear power stations. The problem was that there’d been a complete lack of due process – no costing, no public consultation, no proper proclamation and no competitive bidding. It was no surprise that the courts declared the awarding of the nuclear build to Russia illegal.

On top of this a very strong case has been mounted against South Africa pursuing nuclear power. Reasons include the fact that it can’t afford it, and doesn’t need nuclear in its energy mix.

Despite all of these developments, and the growing controversy and mounting opposition to the deal, Zuma appears determined to get it done before his term as president of the ANC ends in December. In the last of the reshuffles he appointed one of his closest allies, David Mahlobo, to the energy portfolio. This is generally seen as a last ditch attempt to roll out the nuclear build in the face of now massive opposition.

Reports suggest that this reshuffle was occasioned by Russian displeasure over what they see as a broken promise to award the building contract to Rosatom.

The energy minister’s next steps

Mahlobo appears to have devoted his first few weeks in office entirely to furthering the nuclear project. He has been active in the media declaring the nuclear build as a given – and necessary.

 Mahlobo’s next steps are likely to be:
  • He is reported to be planning to release – in record time – a new energy plan. This, some suspect, will be biased towards nuclear.
  • Heightened public lobbying. This could include verbal attacks on nuclear critics as already initiated by the President.
  • The issuing of a request for proposals to build the nuclear plants to potential developers like Rosatom. Most observers expect the evaluation to favour Rosatom regardless of the merits of the other bidders.
  • Signing an agreement with Rosatom. This could mirror the USD$30 billion deal Russia signed with Egypt which, on the surface, will appear attractive because it would offer favourable terms such as annual interest of only 3% and the commencement of repayments after 13 years. But when scaling the 4.8 GW Egyptian agreement up to the 9.6 GW envisioned for South Africa, the total cost then already exceeds R1 trillion. Annual repayments from year 14 to year 35 then amount to about 5% of South Africa’s annual fiscus. Any cost overruns, which are common in many other nuclear builds, would vastly increase the debt further.

What’s changed

The global energy landscape has changed dramatically since South Africa first mooted the idea of supplementing its power mix with more nuclear. Major developments and changes include:

Not even government’s own recent energy plans have promoted nuclear.

A 2013 draft energy plan argued against immediate nuclear growth. (The plan was never formally adopted).

The last draft plan released in 2016 went as far as declaring new nuclear unnecessary until 2037.

Will it happen?

Nuclear plants are major long term investments, and these projects will not survive lengthy construction and operation periods without broad public support. There is definitely a lack of public support in South Africa.

The Zuma-Mahlobo work plan will face major opposition by other parties, civil society and even critics within the ruling party. Lengthy court challenges will query the validity of the energy plan process, the public consultation, the regulatory aspects, the site selection and the constitutionality of the entire process. Public protests highly effective in other spheres would now be directed against the nuclear build. The ruling party would probably abandon the scheme if it proves politically costly.

The danger is, however, that huge funds will have been wasted in coming to this realisation.

The stakes are high. Zuma’s efforts to promote this unpopular nuclear project are weakening him politically. Even party comrades perceived to be in his inner circle – like newly appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba – recognise that going ahead with the programme at this stage would cripple the country economically. Repeated ministerial reshuffles to sideline his critics has further damaged Zuma’s standing in the ruling party and in broader society.

Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

November 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

A.I. system finds cracks in nuclear reactors

 Futurity,  A new system that uses artificial intelligence to find cracks captured in videos of nuclear reactors could help reduce accidents as well as maintenance costs, researchers report.

“Regular inspection of nuclear power plant components is important to guarantee safe operations,” says Mohammad R. Jahanshahi, an assistant professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University.

“However, current practice is time-consuming, tedious, and subjective and involves human technicians reviewing inspection videos to identify cracks on reactors,” Jahanshahi says.

The fact that nuclear reactors are submerged in water to maintain cooling complicates the inspection process. Consequently, direct manual inspection of a reactor’s components is not feasible due to high temperatures and radiation hazards. Technicians review remotely recorded videos of the underwater reactor surface, a procedure that is vulnerable to human error.

Checking the tape

Researchers are proposing a “deep learning” framework called a naïve Bayes-convolutional neural network to analyze individual video frames for crack detection. An innovative “data fusion scheme” aggregates the information from each video frame to enhance the overall performance and robustness of the system……..

Cracks lead to leaks

The United States is the world’s largest supplier of commercial nuclear power, which provides around 20 percent of the nation’s total electric energy. Between 1952 to 2010, there have been 99 major nuclear power incidents worldwide that cost more than $20 billion and led to 4,000 fatalities. Fifty-six incidents occurred in the United States.

“One important factor behind these incidents has been cracking that can lead to leaking,” Jahanshahi says. “Nineteen of the above incidents were related to cracking or leaking, costing $2 billion. Aging degradation is the main cause that leads to function losses and safety impairments caused by cracking, fatigue, embrittlement, wear, erosion, corrosion, and oxidation.”……..

The research team also is using deep learning to detect corrosion in photographs of metal surfaces, a technology that could potentially inspect structures such as light poles and bridges. The researchers reported the details of that work in a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Structural Health Monitoring.

Future research will include work to further improve the technologies.

The researchers detail their work in the journal IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. Computer engineering doctoral student Fu-Chen Chen was Jahanshahi’s coauthor.

Source: Purdue University

November 9, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Energy efficiency: the foundation of the climate transition

 REneweconomy, By Andrew McCallister on 10 November 2017

I’m preparing for a trip to your fine nation later this month to speak at the National Energy Efficiency Conference in Melbourne, so I’ve been reading up on Australian energy policy debate. It’s been fascinating.

I still have a lot to learn about your energy system, but so far one thing stands out: the discussion in Australia seems overly focused on the transition underway on the supply side of the market.

Don’t get me wrong – the decarbonisation of the world’s energy supply is crucial, and you won’t find a stronger advocate for renewables than me. Way back in the 1990s, I installed many small, remote PV and wind systems with my own two hands, and trained others to do the same.

More recently I ran two of California’s signature renewables programs – the California Solar Initiative and Self-Generation Incentive Program.

However, focusing solely on the move to low carbon generation without pursuing demand side opportunities in an ambitious, systematic way actually makes the transition harder.

Energy efficiency and demand response are just as important to the energy transition as renewables are, as we’ve learnt in California. Today’s technology helps us utilise energy smartly; and indeed the least expensive and cleanest unit of energy is the one not needed at all.

Energy efficiency has been a central contributor to California’s energy mix since the 1970s.Efficiency is responsible for an annual reduction in statewide electric consumption of 90 TWh (Figure 1), the equivalent of 30 percent of the state’s current electricity consumption and enough to power around eight million households.

California’s per capita electricity use has remained flat since the mid-1970s, despite a fourfold increase in real economic output, larger homes and the proliferation of consumer appliances and electronics.

Since 2000, the state’s overall carbon emissions are down 8 percent while its economy has grown by 28 percent. California’s deliberate, consistent focus on energy efficiency has played an important role in these successes.

Going forward, the California legislature and Governor Brown have established a goal to double the flow of efficiency savings by 2030. The estimated impacts of this doubling effort are shown in Figure 2. Achieving the goal will see per capita consumption decline around 25 percent by 2030. California’s suite of energy efficiency activities includes:

  • Building energy efficiency standards. The 2019 Standards update will require residential new construction to have advanced building shells, high-performing water heating and mechanical systems, all-LED lighting and, for the first time, sufficient self-generation (typically PV) to offset all electric load. Incremental costs are shown to be cost-effective.
  • Appliance efficiency standards. California has explicit authority to develop efficiency standards where national standards do not exist. Recent standards adopted include general service LEDs, computers, and battery chargers. Many appliance standards are currently in development (e.g. industrial fans and blowers, certain compressors and pumps, and room air conditioners)……

Modern energy management complements renewable energy supply

Highly efficient products and practices increasingly bundle with digital communication and control features to support demand-side responsiveness to the momentary needs of the grid. Good design of buildings and industrial processes, together with advanced energy management systems, can provide both beautifully tailored performance for customers and valuable and much-needed grid services that aid seamless incorporation of renewable energy into the supply mix.

Energy efficiency optimises the distribution grid

Energy efficiency frees capacity in the distribution grid, allowing new electric loads to be served with only moderate added investment. That ‘headroom’ will be essential, since California’s clean energy path will include widespread electrification: pervasive adoption of electric vehicles, heat pumps, induction cooking and other electric end use technologies. Electrification brings additional benefits, such as avoiding both investment in new retail gas distribution infrastructure and the risks to health and safety from indoor combustion.

Energy efficiency creates jobs and builds economic resilience…… Andrew McCallister is a Commissioner at the California Energy Commission, the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. He will be the international keynote speaker at the National Energy Efficiency Conference in Melbourne on 20th and 21st November 2017.    http://reneweconomy.com.au/energy-efficiency-foundation-climate-transition-48098/

November 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

7 leaks found in Hanford’s oldest double-walled tank

 http://q13fox.com/2017/11/09/7-leaks-found-in-hanfords-oldest-double-walled-tank/ NOVEMBER 9, 2017, BY ASSOCIATED PRESS,   RICHLAND, Wash. — Inspectors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have found seven leaks in the site’s oldest double-walled radioactive waste storage tank.

Tank AY-102 was known since 2012 to have a slow leak from its inner shell into the space between its inner and outer walls.

The Tri-City Herald reports that the tank, which once held 744,000 gallons of waste, had been emptied of all but 19,000 gallons by February.

Then an inspection was done with video cameras.

A manager for the U.S. Department of Energy told the Hanford Advisory Board on Wednesday that a total of seven leaks were found.

The Energy Department says no waste is believed to have breached the outer shell to contaminate the environment.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons and the wastes are left over.

November 9, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

How the Gupta brothers and the nuclear industry bought South Africa

The Brothers Who Bought South Africa, The continent’s most important economy now appears to function for the benefit of one powerful family. Bloomberg, By Matthew Campbell and Franz Wild, 9 Nov 17 

“….– Since Nene’s firing, long-standing questions about the scale of the Guptas’ power in South Africa have exploded into the most severe political and economic crisis since the end of apartheid. The family has been accused by activists and opposition politicians of stacking the leadership of powerful state companies, rigging bids in favor of suppliers it controls, and even helping orchestrate a planned $70 billion nuclear-power deal with Russia, for which it could supply vast quantities of uranium—all while using an alliance with Zuma to neuter law enforcement agencies that would otherwise shut down its efforts. Blue chip companies including McKinseyKPMG, and SAP have been embroiled in what’s fast becoming a global scandal……..

In 2005 the brothers began putting Zuma’s family on their payroll. They hired his son Duduzane, then in his early 20s, as an IT specialist; appointed Duduzane’s twin sister, Duduzile, as a company director; and made one of Zuma’s wives (polygamy is legal in South Africa, and Zuma currently has four) a communications officer.

Over the years, Duduzane became an integral node in the Guptas’ empire, both as a shareholder in uranium and coal mines and a director in a string of other companies. …….
There was at least one more avenue by which money might flow from Eskom to Gupta-connected companies. In 2010 the family’s investment company borrowed about 250 million rand from a state bank to buy a South African uranium mine. It was a curious purchase—there was no real buyer for the uranium, because South Africa has only one aging nuclear plant. In 2014, however, Zuma’s administration laid out a grand plan that would make the mine’s value soar: He proposed building six massive nuclear plants for Eskom at an ultimate cost that could exceed $70 billion.

The idea was controversial from the start. In addition to immense reserves of coal, South Africa has a vibrant renewable-energy sector and no obvious need for nuclear power.

 Zuma has dismissed the criticism, arguing the country needs to diversify its energy sources—and strategic alliances. In 2014, he and President Putin agreed that Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom Corp., would provide technology for the plants.

The next summer, Zuma was back in Russia for an economic summit, joined by his senior ministers—including Nene, the then-finance chief. Toward the end of the conference, according to two officials who were present, Zuma cornered Nene in a briefing room about the nuclear deal. The president and several other ministers demanded that Nene provide financial guarantees that would allow Eskom and Russia’s relationship to move ahead. Nene refused; even under the most optimistic projections, he said, a nuclear project of the scale Zuma envisioned would severely strain South African finances.

Zuma complained bitterly about Nene’s resistance, the summit officials say. Not long afterward, Nene’s deputy, Jonas, found himself in the Guptas’ sitting room at Saxonwold, being offered his boss’s job…….

The Guptas’ apparent grip on politics is resilient, but their freedom of movement has been significantly reduced—and doing business with them now carries potentially fatal risks…….. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-11-09/the-brothers-who-bought-south-africa

November 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

An Arizona Town Council passes resolution against uranium transport

Flagstaff council passes resolution against uranium transport, Arizona Daily Sun CORINA VANEK Sun Staff Reporter, Nov 8, 2017 

      The Flagstaff City Council officially opposed the transportation of uranium ore and other radioactive materials through the city and neighboring communities at its meeting Tuesday night.

The resolution, however, will have no ability to control the route trucks hauling the material will take. At a meeting last month, City Attorney Sterling Solomon and Assistant to the City Manager Caleb Blaschke said the city is preempted from regulating the transportation of uranium ore and all hazardous materials by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The council voted 6-1 on a resolution stating the city’s opposition to the transportation of uranium ore and reaffirming Flagstaff as a “nuclear free zone.” Councilman Scott Overton was the lone “no” vote on the resolution.

At Tuesday’s meeting, 15 members of the public, including a representative from the Havasupai Tribal Council and state Representative Wenona Benally, spoke. All public speakers voiced their support for the resolution and some asked the council to take the move a step further and craft a legally binding ordinance to stop the transportation of uranium ore through Flagstaff…….

The council also directed the city staff to lobby the federal government to change its policy preempting local control over the material’s transportation.

Members of the public, including many from a group called “Haul No,” filled the council chambers Tuesday evening and erupted into thunderous applause when the resolution passed.

Evans said other towns and cities in northern Arizona look to Flagstaff to set an example as the largest city in northern Arizona.

“I believe the legacy of uranium mining in northern Arizona is unjust,” she said.

November 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

For Diablo Canyon nuclear plant – the end is near?

End may be nearing for Diablo Canyon nuclear plant SF Chronicle, By David R. Baker, : November 9, 2017 California’s last nuclear power plant — Diablo Canyon — may be one step closer to closing, despite a vocal campaign to save it.

The California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday issued a proposed decision that would approve plans by Diablo Canyon’s owner, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., to shut it down when the plant’s operating licenses expire, in 2024 and 2025.

 A majority of the commission’s five voting members must approve the plan for it to take effect. A vote could come as early as Dec. 14.

Diablo Canyon, which sits on a coastal bluff near San Luis Obispo, has been the focus of protests since long before it started operations in 1985. A maze of earthquake faults, all of them discovered after construction began, nearly surrounds the plant.

PG&E had been weighing whether to extend the plant’s federal operating licenses for another 20 years. But as it studied California’s fast-changing electricity market, which is adding renewable power at a rapid clip, the company concluded that Diablo Canyon would soon become uneconomical to run……. http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/End-may-be-nearing-for-Diablo-Canyon-nuclear-plant-12342441.php

November 9, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and Earthlife Africa ready to take legal action against nuclear policy

Abide by nuclear procurement ruling or we go to court, state told  https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-11-10-abide-by-nuclear-procurement-ruling-or-we-go-to-court-state-told/
Failure by Energy Minister David Mahlobo, Eskom and Nersa to halt any tender process for nuclear energy will end in court 10 NOVEMBER 2017   LINDA ENSOR The government, Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) have been urged to abide by the judgment of the High Court in Cape Town and immediately halt any tender process for nuclear energy.

The call comes from the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and Earthlife Africa.

Failure by Energy Minister David Mahlobo, Eskom and Nersa to give an undertaking by Monday that they will halt the process could result in an urgent application being brought to the high court to ensure that its judgment is respected and that the government acts “openly and transparently” with regard to nuclear procurement.

The two organisations have sent lawyers’ letters to Mahlobo, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Eskom and Nersa recalling the April judgment, which ruled that any decision made about new electricity generation must be made in conjunction with Nersa through a lawful and procedurally fair determination under section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act.

The determination would have to specify why new
nuclear energy electricity generation was needed so urgently and what percentage of SA’s energy mix it would fulfil.

Earthlife Africa’s Johannesburg co-ordinator, Makoma Lekalakala, noted that the judgment emphasised the need for public participation as part of the determination processes.

The letters follow news reports that Mahlobo is fast-tracking finalisation of the Integrated Resource Plan by four months so he can expedite nuclear procurement. The plan will determine the energy mix the country will require in future, what proportion of this will be provided by nuclear and when the construction of new nuclear plants should begin.

Eskom has signalled its intention to begin the tender process immediately if the Integrated Resource Plan showed the nuclear programme could go ahead.

Liz McDaid of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute said the fast-tracking of the plan was being undertaken despite Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba having stated that the country did not need nor could it afford new nuclear plants.

The many serious allegations of state capture and irregular procurement processes by senior Eskom officials could not be ignored, McDaid added.

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Climate change will ravage rich and poor alike – a call to the British Commonwealth

Don’t be complacent: climate change will ravage rich and poor alike, Guardian , Patricia Scotland, 9 Nov 17  Lady Scotland is secretary general of the Commonwealth

My trip to islands that bore the brunt of Hurricanes Irma and Maria proved one thing: we must think again about how to help those most at risk

“…….My worry is that change will not happen quickly enough to meet the mammoth challenges facing the Caribbean and other regions that have been so grievously damaged by a season of climatic upheaval.

All those involved in making these rules, such as the World Bank and the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, have to consider seriously our present reality and to create eligibility criteria that adequately respond to what countries, particularly those more prone to natural disasters, are actually experiencing.

This is a concern for all of us; because just before the Caribbean hurricanes, hundreds died in mudslides in Sierra Leone and in floods in Asia, and thousands were displaced.

This is not just about a woman, thousands of miles away, sitting amid the wreckage of her home. This is about a rapid, drastic change in climate that is wreaking havoc on our planet. Even in Ireland, Storm Ophelia claimed three liveslast month.

We need to accept the new reality of fast and furious natural disasters and have a plan to deal with it. We need a targeted global response that enables us to implement the Paris agreement on climate change and better coordinate a rapid reaction, with everything taken into account: search and rescue, regional coordination and legal impediments, such as the revision of aid rules.

But it also needs to recognise that the human spirit demonstrated by the Commonwealth during this traumatic period is something upon which we can build. We need all hands on deck. If not us, who – and if not now, when?
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/09/climate-change-ravage-rich-poor-alike-hurricane-irma-maria

November 9, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment