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Tokyo 2020 to feed IOC food from disaster-hit regions

dec 4 2017 Olympics will fed produce from Tohoku
The 2020 organisers have been trying to include the disaster-hit areas in their planning
International Olympic officials will be fed produce from northern Japan hit by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, as Tokyo 2020 organisers aim to dispel fears over food from the region.
“Restoration of the disaster-hit area is an important pillar of our Games,” a spokeswoman for the Tokyo 2020 organising committee told AFP.
“By offering food from three disaster-hit prefectures, we hope to sweep away the false reputation of food from the regions and contribute to the restoration,” she said.
At a dinner during next week’s three-day visit by International Olympic Committee, Tokyo organisers are planning to offer fine food from the disaster-hit region and invite governors of the three prefectures to the meal, the official said.
The regions are famous for rice, pork, mackerel and apples but details of the menu are yet to be finalised, she added.
The northern Japanese areas of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate were devastated in 2011 by a huge quake-triggered tsunami and the resulting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident contaminated large swathes of land and tainted the water with radiation.
Right after the disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 — 54 countries imposed import bans on Japanese-produced food “for fear of contamination with radioactive materials”, farm ministry official Maiko Kubo told AFP.
Today, more than six years after the disaster, 25 countries have completely ended the ban and just days ago, the European Union further loosened their rules, scrapping their requirements for safety certificates for rice grown in Fukushima, she said.
However, China still has a trade ban on food from 10 Japanese prefectures and Taiwan from five regions.
Food from the affected areas has to pass strict Japanese safety tests before being put on the market.
A small number of food products made in Fukushima, such as mountain vegetables, are still banned in Japan.
Tokyo 2020 organisers have been keen to include the disaster-hit areas in the preparation for the Games.
In March, Fukushima won formal approval to host baseball and may have the honour of putting on the opening game.
And Kengo Kuma, designer of the new national stadium, the showpiece venue for the Games, has said he hopes to use timber from the disaster-hit region.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima dome roof takes shape, but radiation remains high

4 dec 2017 dome roof n3
Construction continues on a domed roof on top of the No. 3 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
High radiation levels are still limiting recovery work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a stark reality that reporters saw firsthand when they observed efforts to remove risk factors there.
Media representatives were invited into the plant in early December to see construction work, with the building of a domed roof over the No. 3 reactor building as the main focus.
4 dec 2017 dome roof n3 3.jpg
However, they were only allowed to stay on top of the roof for 20 minutes due to high radiation levels.
The roof is being put together directly above the storage pool for spent fuel. The dome is designed to prevent the spewing of radioactive materials when the fuel is actually removed from the pool.
The original roof of the No. 3 reactor building was severely damaged by a hydrogen explosion in the days following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which led to the crippling of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
4 dec 2017 dome roof n3 4.jpg
Spent fuel still remains in the storage pools located on the top floors of the No. 1 to No. 3 reactor buildings.
Plans call for removing the spent fuel first from the No. 3 reactor building.
Although the dome will help prevent the spread of radioactive materials, building parts and other debris as well as some equipment have still not been completely removed from the storage pool, which holds 566 fuel rods.
The collapsed roof and walls were removed to allow for the construction of the domed roof, which began in the summer. The domed roof is about 17 meters high, and a crane was also installed under it in November.
4 dec 2017 dome roof n3 2.jpg
Plans call for the removal of the spent fuel from the No. 3 building to begin in the middle of the next fiscal year.
Internal radiation exposure levels were measured before media representatives headed to the No. 3 reactor building. They were also required to don protective clothing as well as a partial face mask covering the mouth and nose from about 100 meters from the building.
Radiation levels close to the building were 0.1 millisieverts per hour.
An elevator installed into the scaffolding next to the reactor building took the media representatives to the roof, which had been covered with metal plates.
The so-called operating floor looked like any other newly constructed building roof, a sharp contrast to the twisted metal parts that covered the building shortly after the nuclear accident.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, captured video footage from within the reactors for the first time in July. Debris that appears to be melted nuclear fuel was found in various parts of the containment vessel.
To the south of the No. 3 reactor building stands the No. 4 reactor building, from where all the spent nuclear fuel has been removed.
To the north is the No. 2 reactor building, which avoided a hydrogen explosion. Beyond the building, cranes and other large equipment are working in preparation for the removal of debris from the No. 1 reactor building.
TEPCO officials cautioned media representatives about standing too long right next to the storage pool, which could be seen located about six meters below the roof. Debris was found within the pool while insulating material floated on the pool surface.
The radiation level near the pool was 0.68 millisieverts per hour. While that was a major improvement from the 800 millisieverts per hour recorded in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear accident close to seven years ago, it was still too high to allow for a stay of longer than 20 minutes.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Vietnam’s ex-president admits Fukushima disaster played role in ditching foray into atomic power

HO, CHI MINH CITY – Vietnam last year abandoned plans to build its first nuclear power plants with Japanese and Russian assistance due to heightened concern over the safety of atomic power following events including the Fukushima disaster, according to former President Truong Tan Sang.
“The situation in the world had changed,” Sang, 68, said in an interview in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday. “Due to the fluctuations of the world situation, the Vietnamese people were very worried, especially the people in the area where the nuclear power plants were to be located. They had reactions. Therefore, we had to temporarily halt (the plans).”
The interview was his first with a foreign media outlet since stepping down from the post in April last year.
In scrapping the plans to build two multibillion-dollar nuclear plants in November last year, the government cited the country’s tight financial situation, claiming at the time that safety was not an issue.
On Vietnam’s territorial row with China in the South China Sea, Sang said his country welcomes the concerns of countries in and outside the region to contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the strategic waterway.
“We protect our interests on the basis of international law, and at the same time we also respect the interests of the countries concerned on the basis of international law,” he said.
“Japan is very close to Vietnam’s view,” he added, expressing hope for Tokyo’s continued support for its stance in the dispute.
On the economic front, he praised Japan for its active promotion of globalization, especially after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement signed by 12 nations, including Vietnam and Japan.
“(Prime Minister) Shinzo Abe was one of the first leaders to promote and connect remaining countries together. As a result, at the APEC meeting in Danang recently, the TPP 11 meeting successfully took place,” he said.
On bilateral relations, he said the relationship between the two countries is “very good. There is no obstacle.”
“The extensive strategic partnership in all areas has been strengthened, bringing clear benefits,” he said.
By taking advantage of Japan’s advanced technology and Vietnam’s abundant natural and human resources, he expressed hope for greater cooperation in areas such as high-quality infrastructure, high-tech agriculture and renewable energy.
“Vietnam learns from the experience and realities of countries around the world to perfect the organizational model of our political system,” he said, indicating the necessity of reform of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party and government based on global trends and the domestic situation.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Image shows extent of damage to reactor at Fukushima plant

1 dec 2017 corroded tubes reactor 3.jpg
Severely damaged parts of a device once used to move control rods are stuck in a hole inside the pressure vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. (Provided by International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning)
An image taken by an underwater robot shows corroded tubes stuck in a hole created by melted fuel in the pressure vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The image offers clues on the extent of the damage caused when fuel rods in the reactor melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel after the disaster at the nuclear plant unfolded in March 2011.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, sent the specially designed robot into the reactor in July. The company earlier released images taken by the robot that showed ‘what is believed’ to be melted nuclear fuel debris.
In the image released on Nov. 30, TEPCO identified the severely corroded and damaged tubes as parts of a device used to move control rods. Normally, that device is located inside the pressure vessel.
TEPCO on Nov. 30 also said it would conduct another study inside of the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the plant in January. The containment vessel surrounds the pressure vessel.
A telescopic stick more than 10 meters long and equipped with a camera will be used for the survey.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Closer to the nuclear brink: American air drills begin over the Korean peninsula

Air drills put region on ‘brink of nuclear war’, warns North Korea, 9 News, By Richard Wood

The comments by North Korea represent rising escalation on the Korean peninsula and came as US National Security Adviser HR McMaster declared the possibility of war was “increasing” daily. Pyongyang described the drill as ‘warmongering’.

The five-day air drill called Vigilant Ace kicks off today over the Korean peninsula and involves 230 advanced warplanes from the South Korean and US air forces.

 Commentary by Pyongyang’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by North Korea’s state media agency, criticised the exercise as a “dangerous provocation” propelling the region to “the brink of nuclear war”.

A total of 12,000 US personnel from the marines, navy and air force will take part in Vigilant Ace, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The aircraft flying from eight bases include the hi-tech F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning.

Both aircraft are more than a match for anything in North Korea’s largely Soviet-era air force and are cloaked in stealth coating, making them virtually invisible to enemy radar. Flying at 1930km/h, the F-35s can carry nuclear bombs and bunker-busting munitions, regarded as vital for targeting and destroying North Korea’s complex of military tunnels…….

December 4, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The human consequences of nuclear war: a new medical plea against war

NUCLEAR WAR WITH N. KOREA: WE’RE NOT PREPARED FOR THE SCALE OF CASUALTIES BY CHAM DALLAS The global impact of nuclear war—in perception and reality—took a significant, unprecedented and highly negative turn in the summer of 2017 with North Korea’s acquisition of a thermonuclear weapon.

Those of us in the field of emergency preparedness shudder with the realization that a growing number of nations are joining the global thermonuclear arms race.

This reality is fraught with consequences that most people do not recognize, and frankly do not want to know.

In a nutshell, thermonuclear weapons, colloquially known as H-bombs, produce much larger yields of destructive power than the nuclear weapons that countries tested in the early days of nuclear weapon development.

For example, the nuclear bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945 were in the 15 to 20 kiloton yield. This means that they had the destructive power of an equivalent of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of dynamite.

In addition to killing about 100,000 people, these weapons cause thousands of traumatic injuries, thousands of radiation injuries and hundreds of thermal burn victims.

Compare that to a thermonuclear weapon which is in the range of 75 to 49,000 kilotons of destructive power. Used on a densely populated urban center like New York City or Tokyo, just one weapon would kill millions of people and produce millions of casualties.

Those numbers are devastating enough, but the real nightmare is that the number of thermal burn casualties greatly multiply with a thermonuclear weapon relative to a simple nuclear weapon.

A typical serious thermal burn injury in a well staffed hospital takes three to four medical personnel per patient to provide adequate care. When we have hundreds of thousands of surviving burn patients due to an urban thermonuclear detonation, we are not going to be able to treat even a tiny fraction of them.

Until now, only wealthy and advanced nations – the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Israel – were able to produce these massively destructive thermonuclear weapons.

Now, with poor and unstable North Korea joining the thermonuclear club, other small nations may realize that this previously difficult threshold may be within their technical reach.

Even worse, nations around the world know that the Earth is getting to be a much more dangerous place when a nation like North Korea has such weapons, and many will perceive that their national safety now depends on procuring these terrible devices as well.

In academic journals and in the media, there is talk of India acquiring thermonuclear weapons on the fast track, which will pressure Pakistan to do the same. The sense of urgency is even touching nations that previously eschewed the development of nuclear weapons.

Even Japan – which by its constitution is significantly restricted in its armaments and has no nuclear weapons at all –  could use its enormous stockpile of nuclear waste to rapidly develop an equally enormous stockpile of thermonuclear weapons.

Despite repeated headlines about the growing possibility of nuclear war, most people, curiously, avoid thinking or talking about it. In over a thousand lectures on nuclear war medical response, I find even medical audiences do not want to address the issue.

In fact, I recently published an assessment of U.S. and Asian emergency medical responders’ hypothetical response to a nuclear event which found a striking lack of knowledge about patients affected by radiation after nuclear war and a strong reluctance to treat them, even though it is far less dangerous than treating infectious disease patients.

This fear of radiation is just as pronounced in the general population. We had a very hard time getting the medical and public health community to adequately address this issue even when we were focused on the smaller, Hiroshima-sized weapons, where it is feasible to mount a credible response. Now, we have to discuss the grim prospect of responding to the global thermonuclear arms race that we are now in – and currently losing.

While nuclear nonproliferation remains a top priority, the preparation for responding to the actual use of these terrible weapons is now a regrettable necessity that we must confront.

Cham Dallas is the director of the Institute for Disaster Management at the University of Georgia.

December 4, 2017 Posted by  | General NewsLeave a comment Edit

USA air drills over Korean peninsula – North Korea warns of nuclear war danger

Air drills put region on ‘brink of nuclear war’, warns North Korea, 9 News, By Richard Wood

The comments by North Korea represent rising escalation on the Korean peninsula and came as US National Security Adviser HR McMaster declared the possibility of war was “increasing” daily. Pyongyang described the drill as ‘warmongering’.

The five-day air drill called Vigilant Ace kicks off today over the Korean peninsula and involves 230 advanced warplanes from the South Korean and US air forces.

 Commentary by Pyongyang’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by North Korea’s state media agency, criticised the exercise as a “dangerous provocation” propelling the region to “the brink of nuclear war”.

A total of 12,000 US personnel from the marines, navy and air force will take part in Vigilant Ace, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The aircraft flying from eight bases include the hi-tech F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning.

Both aircraft are more than a match for anything in North Korea’s largely Soviet-era air force and are cloaked in stealth coating, making them virtually invisible to enemy radar. Flying at 1930km/h, the F-35s can carry nuclear bombs and bunker-busting munitions, regarded as vital for targeting and destroying North Korea’s complex of military tunnels…….

December 4, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret USA-Russia plan for nuclear marketing was backed by Michael Flynn

Mideast nuclear plan backers bragged of support of top Trump aide Michael Flynn, Warren Strobel, Nathan Layne and Jonathan Landay, 3 Dec 17, Washington: Backers of a US-Russian plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East bragged after the US election they had backing from Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn for a project that required lifting sanctions on Russia, documents reviewed by Reuters show.

The documents, which have not previously been made public, reveal new aspects of the plan, including the proposed involvement of a Russian company currently under US sanctions to manufacture nuclear equipment. That company, major engineering and construction firm OMZ OAO, declined to comment.

The documents do not show whether Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, took concrete steps to push the proposal with Trump and his aides. But they do show that Washington-based nuclear power consultancy ACU Strategic Partners believed that both Flynn, who had worked as an adviser to the firm as late as mid-2016, and Trump were firmly in its corner.

“Donald Trump’s election as president is a game changer because Trump’s highest foreign policy priority is to stabilise US relations with Russia which are now at a historical low-point,” ACU’s managing director, Alex Copson, wrote in a November 16, 2016 email to potential business partners, eight days after the election.

White House officials did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. ACU declined comment and also declined to make Copson available for an interview. Previously they told a congressional committee that they had not had any dealings with Flynn since May 2016, before Trump became the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

 Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, did not respond to a request for comment.

Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about a discussion with the former Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, in late December 2016 regarding sanctions.

The documents also show that ACU proposed ending Ukraine’s opposition to lifting sanctions on Russia by giving a Ukrainian company a $US45 billion contract to provide turbine generators for reactors to be built in Saudi Arabia and other Mideast nations.

The contract to state-owned Turboatom, and loans to Ukraine from Gulf Arab states, would “require Ukraine to support lifting US and EU sanctions on Russia,” Copson wrote in the November 16 email.

A Turboatom spokeswoman said she did not have an immediate comment on the matter.

The email was titled “TRUMP/PUTIN ME Marshall plan CONCEPT.” ME stands for Middle East. The title, evoking the post-World War Two plan to rebuild Western European economies, reflected the hopes of the plan’s backers that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin could cooperate on a project that would boost Middle East economies.

The email can be seen here:

The ACU documents reviewed by Reuters include emails, business presentations and financial estimates and date from late autumn 2016.

As part of their investigation into the Trump election campaign’s ties to Russia, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Democrats on the House of Representatives Oversight Committee are probing whether Flynn promoted the Middle East nuclear power project as national security adviser in Trump’s White House.

Flynn resigned after just 24 days as national security adviser after it became known he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence by telling him he had not discussed US sanctions on Russia with Kislyak in late December.

In response to questions about the emails and documents, ACU referred Reuters to letters written in June and September by ACU scientist Thomas Cochran to the House Oversight Committee.

In those letters, Cochran had laid out the project’s strategy, describing a “ready-to-go” consortium that included French, Russian, Israeli and Ukrainian interests, without naming specific companies.

The nuclear reactor plan aimed to provide Washington’s Middle East allies with nuclear power in a way that didn’t risk nuclear weapons proliferation and also helped counter Iranian influence, improve dismal US-Russian relations, and revive the moribund US nuclear industry, according to the documents seen by Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post reported this week that Flynn pushed a version of the nuclear project within the White House by instructing his staff to rework a memo written by a former business associate into policy for Trump to sign.

Two US officials familiar with the issue told Reuters the policy document Flynn prepared for Trump’s approval proposed working with Russia on a nuclear reactor project but did not specifically mention ACU. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they did not know if Trump had read the memo or acted upon it.

On November 18, 2016, 10 days after Trump won the presidential election, ACU’s Copson received an email from nuclear non-proliferation expert Reuben Sorensen saying that he had updated Flynn on the nuclear project’s status. Sorensen’s role in the project was not clear from the emails.

“Flynn is getting closer to (being named) National Security Advisor. Expect an announcement soon. This is a big win for the ACU project,” Sorensen wrote.

“Spoke with him via backchannels earlier this week. He has always believed in the vision of the ACU effort … We need to let him get settled into the new position, but update him shortly thereafter,” Sorensen added.

Reuters could not independently confirm a briefing took place. Sorensen did not reply to an email seeking comment.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Incident at Russia’s Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant may have caused radiation cloud over Europe

Environmentalists point the finger of blame at Mayak, the plant to process Kola’s Cold War legacy,  ByThomas Nilsen, – Barents Observer 30th Nov 2017

A mysterious cloud of radioactive ruthenium-106 blowing over Europe earlier
this autumn triggered many speculations about Russia trying to
‘cover-up’ a leak from the country’s largest nuclear waste treatment

Nadezhda Kutepova a local environmentalists from the closed city
of Ozyorsk near Mayak who was forced to flee Russia in 2015, now reveals
more inside information. Kutepova says Mayak was testing new equipment on
September 25 and 26 at the reprocessing plant and that something abnormal
may have happened.«Emission of ruthenium may come from the reprocessing
plant 235 or RT-1 in Mayak where the vitrification plant for very
high-level nuclear waste is located,» Kutepova tells.

She points to the new vitrification furnace which started operation last December and
experienced problems during construction and testing. «My idea is that the
furnace was built with a lot of problems that emerge in the operation and I
think this is the cause of the ruthenium-106 leak we saw in September,»
she explains.

Mayak has loads of high-level liquid radioactive waste that
needs to be stabilized and made safer and starting the new plant was,
according to Kutepova, rather urgent. She calls the equipment bought for
the electric furnace «low-quality»

December 4, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Plans for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles on America’s West Coast

US seeking new missile defence sites on West Coast as North Korea nuclear attack fears grow, congressmen say Pressure grows on government to respond to increasing likelihood Kim Jong-Un regime has missiles that could hit mainland America, Independent Mike Stone 3 Dec 17 The US agency tasked with protecting the country from missile attacks is scouting the West Coast for places to deploy new anti-missile defences, two Congressmen said on Saturday, as North Korea’s missile tests raise concerns about how the United States would defend itself from an attack.

West Coast defences would likely include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles, similar to those deployed in South Korea to protect against a potential North Korean attack.

The accelerated pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile testing programme in 2017 and the likelihood the North Korean military could hit the US mainland with a nuclear payload in the next few years has raised the pressure on the United States government to build-up missile defences…….. 

December 4, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear propagandist Michael Shillenberger running for Governor of California

Pro-nuclear activist running for governor on pledge to reform utilities commission  Jeff McDonaldContact Reporter

Michael Shellenberger, founder of the pro-nuclear group Environmental Progress, said Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Public Utilities Commission are responsible for creating some of the highest energy rates in the United States.

He also blames Brown and the utility regulators he appointed for the “corrupt” deal that assigned customers $3.3 billion in costs related to the premature shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant and said he wants to secure a cleaner energy future by promoting nuclear power.

Shellenberger listed eight key pledges he said would lower energy costs, reduce poverty, improve education and promote cleaner sources of power. His first pledge is: “Break up the corrupt California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), release secret emails and prosecute the criminals.”

The commission was the subject of a criminal investigation by former Attorney General Kamala Harris, although it’s unclear where the probe stands under her successor, Xavier Becerra. The investigation centered on emails showing potentially improper communications between regulators and the utility companies they are supposed to oversee. San Diego consumer attorney Mike Aguirre has a number of lawsuits against the commission, including one demanding release of more emails.

A resident of Berkeley, Shellenberger is the founder and president of Environmental Progress, a nonprofit group that advocates for nuclear power across the country and world. The group is committed to preserving the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on California’s central coast that has been scheduled for closure.

A resident of Berkeley, Shellenberger is the founder and president of Environmental Progress, a nonprofit group that advocates for nuclear power across the country and world. The group is committed to preserving the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant on California’s central coast that has been scheduled for closure.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Rick Perry to visit Saudi Arabia – a nation keen to have nuclear reactors AND to highly enrich uranium

U.S. Firms Courting Saudi Arabia to Build Nuclear Reactors; Rick Perry to Visit Riyadh, Haaretz, 3 Dec 17,  One of the sources also said Riyadh had told Washington it does not want to forfeit the possibility of one day enriching uranium – a process that can have military uses.
U.S. firms attracted by Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear reactors are pushing Washington to restart talks with Riyadh on an agreement to help the kingdom develop atomic energy, three industry sources said.
Saudi Arabia has welcomed the lobbying, they said, though it is likely to worry regional rival Iran at a time when tensions are already high in the Middle East.
One of the sources also said Riyadh had told Washington it does not want to forfeit the possibility of one day enriching uranium – a process that can have military uses – though this is a standard condition of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation pacts. “They want to secure enrichment if down the line they want to do it,” the source, who is in contact with Saudi and U.S. officials, said before U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the former Governor of Texas and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, holds talks in Riyadh early next week.
Another of the industry sources said Saudi Arabia and the United States had already held initial talks about a nuclear cooperation pact. U.S. officials and Saudi officials responsible for nuclear energy issues declined to comment for this article. The sources did not identify the U.S. firms involved in the lobbying.
Under Article 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, a peaceful cooperation agreement is required for the transfer of nuclear materials, technology and equipment. In previous talks, Saudi Arabia has refused to sign up to any agreement with the United States that would deprive the kingdom of the possibility of one day enriching uranium. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, says it wants nuclear power solely for peaceful uses – to produce electricity at home so that it can export more crude. It has not yet acquired nuclear power or enrichment technology.
Riyadh sent a request for information to nuclear reactor suppliers in October in a first step towards opening a multi-billion-dollar tender for two nuclear power reactors, and plans to award the first construction contract in 2018.
Reuters has reported that Westinghouse is in talks with other U.S.-based companies to form a consortium for the bid. A downturn in the U.S. nuclear industry makes business abroad increasingly valuable for American firms.
Reactors need uranium enriched to around 5 percent purity but the same technology in this process can also be used to enrich the heavy metal to a higher, weapons-grade level. This has been at the heart of Western and regional concerns over the nuclear work of Iran, which enriches uranium domestically.
Riyadh’s main reason to leave the door open to enrichment in the future may be political – to ensure the Sunni Muslim kingdom has the same possibility of enriching uranium as Shi’ite Muslim Iran, industry sources and analysts say.
Potential problem for Washington
Saudi Arabia’s position poses a potential problem for the United States, which has strengthened ties with the kingdom under President Donald Trump……….

December 4, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Russia slams North Korea’s nuclear gambling and US’ provocative conduct

Russia lambasts both North Korea’s nuclear gambling and US’ provocative conduct – Lavrov  December 02 MINSK,   Moscow condemns both Pyongyang’s gambling with nuclear weapons and missiles and Washington’s provocative behavior, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Belarussian television STVon Saturday.

“Condemning Pyongyang’s nuclear missile gambling, we cannot but condemn our American counterparts’ provocative behavior. Unfortunately, they are trying to draw to their side the Japanese and South Koreans who will fall the first victims in case war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula,” Lavrov said.

Speaking about the missile launch conducted by North Korea earlier in the week, the Russian foreign minister pointed out that “the North Korean leader had not been involved in any reckless scheme over the past two months.”

“Simultaneously, in September our American counterparts made it clear that the next major military exercise off the Korean Peninsula had been scheduled for the next spring,” Lavrov said. “There came a hint that amid the current situation, if the pause, which naturally emerged in the US-South Korean drills, had been used by Pyongyang in order not to disturb the placidity, conditions could have been created for some sort of dialogue to start. We said we appreciated the stance and were working with Pyongyang.”

 “Then, all of a sudden, two weeks later after the Americans had sent us a signal, they announced extra drills, that is not in the spring but in October and then in November,” he continued. “Now they announced another exercise in December. There is an impression that they had provoked [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un on purpose so that he could not hold a pause but snapped under their provocations.”

Lavrov pointed out that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a security alliance of former Soviet states, “abides largely by a unified stance” on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

“We do not tolerate the DPRK’s nuclear weapon claims [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea],” Lavrov said. “All the CSTO members support the resolution of the UN Security Council. We comply with the imposed sanctions.”

Simultaneously, the CSTO states “call to leave behind rhetoric, threats and insults and to find ways to restart the talks,” he said.

In the morning on November 29, North Korea conducted a missile launch, the first one since September 15. According to North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA), a Hwasong-15 missile covered a distance of 950 kilometers in 53 minutes, reaching an altitude of 4,475 kilometers. The Japanese Defense Ministry said the missile had fallen into the sea in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, 250 kilometers west off the coast of Japan’s Aomori Prefecture.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

USA: Republicans in Congress losing interest in getting tax credits for nuclear power industry

South Carolina’s failed nuclear site means less push for nuke tax credit in Congress, By Jamie Lovegrove and Andrew Brown

      2 Dec 17, WASHINGTON — The pressure is off South Carolina’s congressional delegation to extend a federal tax deadline for the country’s nuclear power industry following the cancellation of two unfinished reactors at V.C. Summer station.

As Republicans advance a tax overhaul bill in Congress, the likelihood of federal lawmakers passing tax credits for a new generation of nuclear power plants has diminished alongside South Carolina’s failed $9 billion energy project.

Lawmakers from the Palmetto State, who pushed the nuclear tax credits as recently as June, still believe that the incentives are good national policy but admit they now aren’t as much of a priority for the state, which continues to reel from the project’s collapse. …..

The tax credits, which would shrink the final cost of new nuclear reactors by billions of dollars once they are completed, were included in the massive tax bill that passed the House in November. But the incentives were left out of the Senate’s partnering tax legislation…….

At this point, Georgia is the only state likely to benefit from the proposed tax credits. Thirty states have nuclear power plants in operation, but few are discussing plans to construct new ones…….

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, whose district includes V.C. Summer, said the project’s cancellation should serve as a “wake-up call” for other states that consider similar efforts in the future.

“The silver lining is it’s making people aware of oversight of a project like this,” Norman said. “It’s making people aware in government not to let the power companies off the hook.”

Another positive, Norman said, is that the energy vacuum creates more need for other sources of energy he has supported, such as solar. ……

The failure of South Carolina’s project also provides ammunition to longtime critics of the nuclear industry more broadly, such as U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, who was the only House member to speak out against the tax credit extension when it came up for a House vote earlier this year and now expressed vindication.

“The nuclear industry is always asking for one handout after another and then they bail out,” Doggett said. “It’s a ripoff, and it’s tragic that the ratepayers in South Carolina end up picking up the cost.”

Since its cancellation in July, the V.C. Summer nuclear project has devolved into consumer lawsuits and a legal battle over who should pay for the $9 billion failure.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors not economically viable, but UK govt is funding them anyway

UK government to release funding for mini nuclear power stations
Up to £100m expected to be announced in effort to make UK leader in technology and provide fresh source of clean power,
Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 4 Dec 17, The energy minister, Richard Harrington, is expected to announce support for the embryonic technology on Thursday, industry figures told the Guardian. The funding is likely to be up to £100m, one source said.

Small modular reactors provide about a tenth of the power of a conventional large nuclear power station, such as the one EDF is building at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. But their backers pitch them as a cheaper and quicker way to generate the new, low-carbon power the UK needs.

 Rolls-Royce has been publicly and privately lobbying the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) over its SMR design, which it positions as an industrial opportunity for Britain that would generate thousands of UK jobs.

The firm argues that with electric cars likely to drive up future energy demand, the reactors will become a vital part of national infrastructure………

The funding is designed to help Rolls and other consortia, including the US companies NuScale and Terrapower and the controversial Chinese firm CNNC, undertake the research and development for a small nuclear power station to be built in the UK. It is not yet clear who will win a share of public funds, or how the pot will be carved up between the 33 participants in the SMR competition.

Government officials have repeatedly made it clear that developers will only get financial help if they can prove their SMR will be affordable and competitive with rival energy sources. The earliest an SMR is thought likely to be ready for deployment in the UK is around 2030………

The former energy secretary Lord Howell gave his backing to the reactors at a recent House of Lords event, where advocates and critics debated the technology.

“The obvious way forward is through the sequential construction of a new series of smaller modular reactors of the kind now being developed by Rolls-Royce in the UK, and also in China and in America,” said Howell.

However, energy experts said the case for SMRs was far from proved, especially given the falling cost of alternatives such as offshore windfarms………….

Paul Dorfman, a research fellow at University College London, said: “The real question the government must ask is this: given the ongoing steep reduction in all renewable energy costs, and since SMR research and development is still very much ongoing, by the time SMRs comes to market, can they ever be cost competitive with renewable energy? The simple answer to that is a resounding no.”

An energy industry source also questioned how credible most of the SMR developers were. “Almost none of them have got more than a back of a fag packet design drawn with a felt tip,” the source said……..

December 4, 2017 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) to save UK’s troubled Moorside nuclear power plan?

Koreans save Cumbria’s Moorside nuclear plant,  , energy editor 2 DECEMBER 2017

The nuclear industry will clinch a multi-billion pound lifeline from South Korea this week alongside a government rescue deal.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) is expected to say it will join the beleaguered consortium behind Europe’s largest new nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbria to help prop up the £15bn project. The early agreement will kick-start the process of securing final approvals from nuclear regulators and company bosses before a final decision is made early next year.

The Nugeneration consortium was plunged into chaos this summer as Toshiba, the project’s lead developer, faced financial ruin due to its troubled Westinghouse nuclear business which had planned to build the Moorside reactor. It was then left scrambling to find new project partners as French energy giant Engie abandoned Nugen after Westinghouse crashed into bankruptcy proceedings in the US.

Alongside the injection of Korean capital into the UK, Business Secretary Greg Clark is expected to underline government support for the sector in a flurry of pledges. Industry sources said it would be the Government’s “most ambitious and complex sector deal” undertaken to date.
The lifeline comes shortly after Mr Clark held talks with South Korea’s trade minister last month in which the pair signed a memorandum to strengthen plans to collaborate on new nuclear projects. The agreement was kept under wraps ahead of this week’s package of policies which will form the building blocks of a landmark sector deal for the industry in 2018.
There is likely to be “significant funding” to rescue Britain’s world-leading Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford, which many feared would be forced to close in the wake of Brexit. Government will also break its silence over plans to develop small-modular nuclear reactors, or “mini-nukes”. Ministers hope the package of support measures could help reduce nuclear construction costs by between 20pc and 30pc, while cutting the cost of decommissioning by a fifth.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment