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Nuclear news at the beginning of June

With the world still teetering about North Korea etc, and the famous Kim-Trump summit still supposed to be happening, the nuclear weapons industry continues to thrive.

The impacts of climate change will not affect all regions equally – they will be worse in places with already fragile social and ecological systems.   The nuclear waste time bomb will keep ticking – America’s 60 years of radioactive trash.    And, as if the facts were not enough to worry about, Margaret Attwood (of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale”), suggests a future dystopian world, as the result of climate change.

Nuclear power plant construction even more costly than we thought – new analysis shows.

Energy politics – why renewables are winning over nuclear power.   International Renewable Energy Agency reports on companies across 75 nations sourcing renewable energy.

Further research on how ionising radiation causes cancer.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea likely to follow Pakistan’s nuclear path, not Libya’s. Kim Jong-un knows what he wants from the summit. Does President Trump? Yes, there are concerns, but North Korea’s dismantling of the nuclear weapons site is a positive step.


INDIANuclear politics between India and Pakistan need attention and understanding. India, a Key U.S. Ally, Plans to Ignore Trump’s Iran Sanctions .

FRANCE. Macron’s France signs up to join nuclear power partnership with Putin’s Russia.  France scaling back nuclear reprocessing – fears of financial disaster as with Japan’s Monju project.  Persisting with the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) has brought France to a costly nuclear crisis. The trials and tribulations of France’s Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor.


JAPAN.    Fukushima mothers at UN tell their story.  Japan is poised to FLOOD the Pacific with one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear plant  Japanese Buddhist priest joins movement to divest from fossil fuels and nuclear power. Japan’s state-affiliated bank is reluctant to fund Hitachi’s Wylfa nuclear project in UK.   Japanese atomic bomb survivor pays tribute to U.S. POWs killed in A-bombing.

CANADA. Tough times for uranium company Cameco – and no improvement in sight.  Ontario could save $1.2B by closing Pickering plant, buying power from Quebec – Greens.

ISRAELIsrael selling nuclear information and expertise to Saudi Arabia.  Israel’s PM Netanyahu planned a military strike on Iran in 201l.

GERMANY. Germany is ready to support Iran in restoring its economy as long as Iran adheres to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

RUSSIA. In a drill, fake terrorists take over Russia’s Arctic radioactive waste storage site.

SAUDI ARABIAThousands Held Arbitrarily – increasing numbers in Detention Without Trial in Saudi Arabia.

AUSTRALIA.  Federal Government National Nuclear Waste Dump Selection Process – a B-grade horror movie plot.   Sydney’s Opal nuclear reactor’s High Level Wastes off to France, later to return to planned Federal Nuclear waste Dump

June 2, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

USA government to use Emergency Measures to prop up coal and nuclear industries

Trump orders Energy Secretary Perry to halt shutdown of coal and nuclear plants,, By Steven Mufson  Email the author  1 June 18, President Trump on Friday ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to halt the shutdown of ailing coal and nuclear power plants that he said were needed to maintain the nation’s energy mix, grid resilience and national security.

“Unfortunately, impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix, and impacting the resilience of our power grid,” the White House said in a statement.

The Trump administration has been preparing to invoke emergency powers granted under Cold War-era legislation to order regional grid operators to buy electricity from ailing coal and nuclear power plants. There have been meetings this week at the Cabinet deputies’ level and at the National Security Council.

One likely plan, laid out in a 41-page draft memorandum posted online by Bloomberg News and Utility Dive, would favor certain power plants in the name of national security. Those plants are owned by some of the president’s political allies in the coal industry.

According to the draft memo, the Energy Department would exercise its emergency authority to order grid operators to give preference to plants “that have a secure on-site fuel supply” and that “are essential to support the Nation’s defense facilities, critical energy infrastructure, and other critical infrastructure.” Only coal and nuclear plants regularly keep fuel on site.

The Energy Department would also establish a “Strategic Electric Generation Reserve.” The memo added that “federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity.” The emergency rules would be a “prudent stopgap measure” that would last two years while the Energy Department did further study.

“President Trump believes in total energy independence and dominance, and that keeping America’s energy grid and infrastructure strong and secure protects our national security, public safety and economy from intentional attacks and natural disasters,” the White House said.

The idea of declaring an emergency under the Defense Production Act of 1950 (used by President Harry S. Truman for the steel industry) and Section 202 of the Federal Power Act has been promoted by the chief executives of the coal-mining firm Murray Energy and the Ohio utility FirstEnergy, both of whom have contributed heavily to Trump’s political activities.

Robert Murray presented a proposal to Energy Secretary Rick Perry in March 2017, the month Perry took office. And on April 2 of this year, FirstEnergy appealed for emergency help after a subsidiary operating ailing power plants filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent agency, unanimously rejected an earlier proposal by the Energy Department that would have favored coal and nuclear plants.

In a recent appearance at a Washington Post Live event, FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre said that using the emergency powers was “perhaps not the most obvious fit.”

He said using that section of the Federal Power Act “tees off the concept of continuance of a war in which the United States is involved as being kind of the baseline circumstance that would justify a DOE order to certain types of facilities to either begin operating or continue operation.”

Environmental groups, natural-gas producers, and Republicans and Democrats who have pushed for greater competition in electricity markets all condemned the latest signal that the administration might be moving closer to imposing the Energy Department’s plan.

They noted that the coal and nuclear power plants that would benefit have failed to compete against natural gas, solar and wind. Many of the plants have operated far longer than anticipated when they were built.

“Uneconomic, dirty coal plants retiring does not represent a national security risk,” Michael Panfil, director of federal energy policy and senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, wrote on his blog. “If Trump chooses to bail out these failing coal plants, he’ll be forcing Americans to pay for dirty energy that pollutes our environment and makes people sick.”

Katie Bays of Height Capital Markets, an investment research firm, wrote in a commentary: “If DOE proceeds as the memo suggests, a selection of coal and nuclear plants, ostensibly those at risk of retirement, would receive subsidized payments . . . under a stitched-together ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ of federal authorities. Above all, the subsidy would be a major victory for FirstEnergy as it negotiates with bondholders over the value of coal and nuclear plants owned by its bankrupt FirstEnergy Solutions subsidiary.”

FirstEnergy’s top lobbyist last year was Jeff Miller, who was campaign manager for the presidential campaign of Perry, now energy secretary. Trump attended a private dinner with Miller and a handful of political advisers in early April.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump about to massively bail out polluting industries owned by his special donors

Trump wants taxpayers to bail out his polluter donors By Oliver Willis June 1, 2018 

Trump wants to manipulate regulation to force a taxpayer bailout of pollution-based energy companies. Coal baron Robert Murray recently donated to Trump’s reelection efforts and is already seeing his investment pay off.

The Trump administration is preparing a massive bailout of the pollution-causing industry, specifically those who donated millions to support his campaign.

Bloomberg reports that Trump officials are planning to push grid operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants that are out of sync with the move toward cleaner, more reliable energy. The outlet notes that the move would be an “unprecedented intervention into U.S. energy markets.”

A leaked memo Department of Energy, now under the control of secretary Rick Perry (former governor of Texas), shows plans to invoke emergency authority to give an excuse for the scheme.

The memo claims “Federal action is necessary to stop the further premature retirements of fuel-secure generation capacity.”

Sara Chieffo, vice president of Government Affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, slammed the proposal in a statement to Shareblue Media.

“The Trump administration is once again bending over backwards to prop up dying, dirty energy sources instead of building the clean energy economy our communities need and deserve,” Chieffo said.

If the bailout advances, some of the biggest beneficiaries would be polluters who invested massively to install Trump in the White House.

These figures include coal baron Robert Murray. Murray is the head of Murray Energy Corporation, one of the largest independent operators of coal mines in the country. His company has a horriblesafety record and multiple injuries to miners as a result.

He, like Trump, calls climate change “a total hoax.”

Murray recently donated $1 million to America First Action, the administration’s designated pro-Trump super PAC pushing for his reelection.

Before that Murray spent over $300,000 backing Trump in 2016 and donated $300,000 to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration.

Murray has been involved in direct meetings with Perry designed to implement changes in an “action plan” he presented to the administration. The plan was a list of changes to policy and regulations that would benefit the coal industry directly.

Trump has often been a booster of coal polluters. During the campaign he echoed fellow Republicans and their fraudulent claims that President Barack Obama was waging a “war on coal.” Trump recently said he had ended the “war on beautiful clean coal” with moves to ease environmental legislation.

Clean energy has been on the rise in America, and as Lara Ettenson, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council recently wrote, clean energy “is the driving force behind job growth” in the energy industry.

Pollutant-based power sources like coal are the past, and the only way the operators in the industry like Murray can continue to be propped up is through a bailout like the one Trump is planning.

Trump wants taxpayer money to be used to keep his top patrons in business, while continuing to churn out toxic gases into the environment. He’s engineering a bailout of his cronies, and money for his re-election is likely to come rolling in if he has his way.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

The trials and tribulations of France’s Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor

Montel 31st May 2018 French utility EDF will reveal “in the next few days” whether
sub-standard welding identified at France’s first European pressurised
reactor (EPR) in Flamanville will lead to further start-up delays, a
spokeswoman said on Thursday. However, she refused to comment on Montel’s
interview with a senior official of the ASN watchdog’s technical arm –
the IRSN – who said the commissioning of the unit faced further delays
“of at leastseveral months”.

Jeremy Leggett 31st May 2018 French nuclear regulator fears “epidemic” safety-culture collapse at
Flamanville: disaster looms for EDF. Almost 150 more weld failures (beyond
those discovered earlier, as reviewed in the article) mean the nuclear
plant scheduled online in 2012 at a cost of €3.5bn is now delayed to
2020, probably, at a cost of €10.5bn, and counting.

Thierry Charles, deputy director general, Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear
Safety (IRSN), the technical arm of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN):
“The expected high level of quality was not specified (Editor’s note:
by EDF), the conformity of supplies to the specification could not be
attested”, plus “the qualification of the welding procedures […] ]
does not respect all the rules of art. Charles cites concerns over “other
categories of mechanical equipment” than the pipes of the secondary
circuit. He flags “human and organizational failures” and “lack of
rigor of suppliers”.

He ascribes all this to the “inadequacies of the
monitoring system put in place by EDF” to check the conformity of the
work of its subcontractors and he fears “dysfunction potentially damaging
to safety”. He has invited the ASN to summon EDF to thoroughly review its
organization “to improve the quality of realization of welds and make its
monitoring system more effective”. In a final, potentially lethal, blow
to EDF he argues that “additional controls will be requested on other
circuits of the reactor to verify that there is no epidemic.”

Liberation 31st May 2018 [Machine Translation] The Flamanville EPR is likely to see its start
postponed to 2020. The weld quality problem detected on the EPR reactor
could differ by almost a year from its commissioning. The nuclear policeman
should demand that the work be redone.

A blow for EDF. A month and a half
after the discovery of new quality defects on 150 welds of the main
secondary circuit of the EPR reactor of the Flamanville power station, in
the Channel , EDF is preparing to post a further delay of several months in
the commissioning of what was to be the new flagship of the atom made in

The EPR was due to start no later than early 2019. But according to
a source very familiar with the file questioned by Libération, the start
of the EPR Flamanville could outright “suffer a year late and be postponed
to the end of 2019 or early 2020” ! Severely taxed by the gendarme of the
atom, EDF would indeed be forced to resume one by one “Almost all 150
welds” whose quality is not up to what was expected by the nuclear
policeman for this type of equipment under nuclear pressure.

June 2, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, safety | Leave a comment