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Activists to appeal new South African nuclear plant decision

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Greenpeace Africa and other NGOs intend to appeal against South Africa’s decision to grant an environmental permit for a new 4,000 megawatt nuclear plant close to Cape Town, the activists said on Monday.

Last month South Africa’s department of environmental affairs granted authorization to state-owned power utility Eskom to build the new plant at Duynefontein, close to the continent’s only existing nuclear site Koeberg.

South Africa’s nuclear regulator said in October that an installation site license for the plant would likely be granted in June, despite the finance minister saying construction of a new plant was unaffordable in a stagnant economy facing further credit downgrades.

“If this project goes ahead, it will infringe the environmental rights of both present and future generations. This authorization can and must be challenged,” Penny-Jane Cooke, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, said in a statement.

South Africa’s nuclear plans are shrouded in controversy and uncertainty, with local activists and the media raising concerns about transparency and costs as well as safety and environmental risks at a time when Pretoria is trying to reduce the economy’s heavy reliance on coal power.

Nuclear reactor makers including Rosatom, South Korea’s Kepco, France’s EDF and Areva, Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and China’s CGN are eyeing the South African project, which could be worth tens of billions of dollars.


November 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian aborigines challenge Scottish nuclear waste transfers

Martin Williams, The (Glasgow) Scotland Herald Published 6:01 a.m. ET Nov. 13, 2017

Aborigines challenging proposals to dump nuclear waste from northern Scotland to a sacred Australian site have won a breakthrough meeting with government officials about their concerns.

Wallerberdina, 280 miles north of Adelaide, has been identified as a potential location for Australia’s first nuclear waste dump as part of a deal that returns spent fuel processed at the nuclear facility currently being decommissioned in Dounreay, Caithness, to its country of origin.

This is  despite claims that it is a priceless heritage site rich in archaeological treasures including burial mounds, fossilized bones and stone tools.

Some have claimed the impact would be similar to “building a waste dump at the heart of the Vatican.”

Campaigners who have appealed to the Scottish government to halt the plans to ship nuclear waste processed at Dounreay in Caithness to Australia, have now been told that their concerns should be addressed before any final decision is taken.

The Dounreay Waste Substitution Policy, agreed in 2012, sees waste from Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy processed at the Scottish facility to make it safe for storage after being returned to its country of origin.

Campaigners have complained that the intended South Australian destination forms part of an Aboriginal heritage site.

While the waste will be initially stored at a facility near Sydney, concern is growing that it could end up at Wallerberdina, one of two areas under consideration as a nuclear waste dump site.

The proposed dump site is next to an indigenous protected area where Aborigines are still allowed to hunt, and is part of the traditional home of the Adnyamathanha people, one of several hundred indigenous groups in Australia.

The U.K. government has previously confirmed that “a very small quantity of Australian-owned radioactive waste” is currently stored in the country.

Scottish government policy allows for the substitution of nuclear waste with a “radiologically equivalent” amount of materials from Sellafield in Cumbria, northern England.

It is understood that a shipment of such material is due to take place by 2020.

Regina McKenzie, an indigenous woman from the Adnyamathanah community who lives on land adjacent to Wallerberdina, was among those who have objected.

And Gary Cushway, a dual Australian/British citizen living in Glasgow, wrote to Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon asking that the Scottish government review the agreement to transfer the material “until a satisfactory final destination for the waste is finalized by the Australian Government.”

Martin Macdonald, the Scottish government radioactive waste and nuclear decommissioning policy adviser, responded, telling Cushway that developing an understanding of the issues will “help the Scottish Government as we seek assurances from the U.K. government that human rights of indigenous peoples are understood by all parties and addressed before any final decision is taken to transport the Australian produced radioactive waste to Australia”.

He said: “Your correspondence to the Scottish Government highlighted important human rights concerns and international obligations in relation to the rights of indigenous peoples. My colleagues and I would like to offer you a meeting to discuss the human rights issues in more detail to ensure we fully understand your concerns as well as those expressed by Ms McKenzie and other indigenous peoples groups in Australia.

“A meeting would be an opportunity to discuss Scotland’s devolved responsibilities in relation to both human rights and radioactive waste management.”

He added that managing the radioactive waste safely is a responsibility of both the Scottish Government and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Mr Cushway welcomed the move saying: “In terms of how important this is, on a recent visit to one of the proposed sites I met with local Adnyamathanha people opposed to the dump who expressed enormous gratitude that a international government had acknowledged traditional owners concerns and hoped that their ongoing stewardship of their country would be fully recognised and respected as a key part of these proposals.”

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French minister turns up heat on EDF over shift to renewables


Mr Hulot last week said France would aim to reduce the share of nuclear power from 75 to 50 per cent of total energy consumption by 2035, from 2025 previously. He said the decision was “pragmatic” because it took into account France’s CO2 emission reduction targets and the nuclear industry’s 200,000 jobs.

But Mr Hulot said on Monday that he now expected the utility to lay out concrete steps to cut nuclear production in absolute terms. EDF has spearheaded France’s postwar bet on nuclear power, which has provided cheap, low-carbon power for decades.

But the company is struggling under heavy debt and cost overruns on nuclear reactor projects in France, Finland and the UK. “EDF can revitalise itself through renewables . . . Its interest is not to bury its head in the sand like an ostrich, but to be like a giraffe, to look far,” Mr Hulot said. “Tomorrow the norm must no longer be nuclear power but renewable energy. It’s a complete overhaul of our model.”

End snip

Full article here

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Taiwan seeking to secure sufficient electricity after phasing out nuclear power

Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Monday 13 November 2017]

The Taiwan government has promised to make efforts to secure stable and sufficient power supply to achieve its goal of completely phasing out nuclear power by 2025.

To meet increasing power demand along with economic growth and offset the decrease in power supply arising from decommissioning nuclear power plants, the government said it will increase natural gas-fueled and coal-fueled thermal power generation capacity by 8,896MW and 1,000MW respectively during 2017-2025.

The government is boosting development of renewable energy, focusing on PV and offshore wind power generation. It has set 2025 target cumulative total installation of 3GWp for rooftop PV systems and 17GWp for ground-mounted PV stations. As of the end of August 2017, the cumulative capacity totaled 1.319GWp for rooftop PV systems and 69.7MWp for ground-mounted PV stations.

For offshore wind power, cumulative total installation capacity for 2025 is set at 3GW and stood at 8MW as of August 2017.

The government aims to maintain reserve power-generating capacity at over 15% and stand-by power-generating capacity at 10% beginning 2019 as well as attain peak power supply of 46,910MW and peak power load of 40,320MW in 2025.

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Amid Sea Level Rise & Devastating Storm, Island Nations Call for “Real Climate Leadership” at COP23

As the second week of the U.N. climate conference gets underway in Bonn, Germany, we speak with two activists about the impact of climate change on their countries, and their goals for this year’s talks. “It was devastating to see thousands of homes damaged, and about 40 people lost their lives,” says George Nacewa, Fiji islander and Pacific Climate Warrior. “This is something we’ve never experienced before.” Meanwhile, Tetet Lauron, a former member of the Philippines delegation, says negotiators must increase their sense of urgency “to avoid runaway climate change.”


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China urges IAEA to strive for universality of NPT, promote peaceful use of nuclear energy

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy has asked the UN nuclear watchdog to strive for universality of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

“The agency should continue to enhance the universality and effectiveness of its safeguards system on the basis of ensuring impartiality and objectiveness and conducting full consultation with member states,” Wu Haitao told the UN General Assembly after Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), briefed the assembly on the agency’s work.

The international nuclear non-proliferation regime faces daunting challenges as some states still haven’t acceded to the NPT, said Wu, the charges d’affaires of China’s permanent mission to the United Nations.

“We hope that the IAEA Secretariat continues its dialogue and communication with member states on the implementation of safeguards at the state level,” he said.

He asked the IAEA to promote the application of nuclear energy and nuclear technology, and increase assistance to developing countries. “China encourages the agency to advance and coordinate nuclear technical exchanges and cooperation by increasing its investment of resources and taking full account of the demand of the developing countries, in order to help member states achieve the sustainable development goals and share the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.”

Wu asked the IAEA to play the core role in strengthening global nuclear safety and nuclear security. “China supports the agency to continue promoting the implementation of its Nuclear Safety Standards and Nuclear Security Guidelines, strengthening peer review service, facilitating the capacity building of member states, so as to enhance international nuclear safety and nuclear security.”

He said China appreciates the efforts made by the agency in facilitating the implementation of the international nuclear deal with Iran, and supports the fulfillment of its monitoring and verification mandate. China also supports the agency to play its due role of monitoring the nuclear activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea according to its mandate, said Wu.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Japanese Anti-nuke group to call for probe into US bases

14 November 2017 An anti-nuclear group will demand Japan’s government to inspect US bases in Okinawa, following a report that a large number of nuclear weapons were once stored there.

An NHK documentary broadcast in September revealed that 1,300 nuclear weapons were kept in Okinawa during the height of the Cold War.

They were reportedly stored there before Okinawa was returned to Japanese rule.

The civic group, founded after the airing of the program, held a meeting in Okinawa’s Kadena Town on Monday.

Members agreed to call on the Japanese government to inspect US bases in Okinawa, as well as to seek the release of information relating to weapons stored at these bases.

A member expressed hope that this would start a large movement seeking to find out what really happened.

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William J. Perry at Nuclear Weapons Policy in a Time of Crisis 10/26/2017

Ploughshares Fund
Published on 13 Nov 2017

Nuclear Weapons Policy in a Time of Crisis was a conference held by Ploughshares Fund on October 26, 2017. It featured inspiring discussion and remarks from leading policymakers, nuclear security analysts, a senior Trump administration official, seven members of Congress, eight top experts, two leading security journalists, a former Secretary of Defense, and the newest Nobel Peace Laureate. Learn more about the event and watch other speeches here:

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