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Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation – says USA

Pompeo says North Korea sanctions to remain until complete denuclearisation, Reuters, Christine KimMichael Martina– 14 June 18, SEOUL/BEIJING – Tough sanctions will remain on North Korea until its complete denuclearisation, the U.S. secretary of state said on Thursday, apparently contradicting the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s summit would be phased and reciprocal.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their meeting in Singapore this week that reaffirmed the North’s commitment to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, while Trump “committed to provide security guarantees”.

Trump later told a news conference he would end joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

“President Trump has been incredibly clear about the sequencing of denuclearisation and relief from the sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters after meeting South Korea’s president and Japan’s foreign minister in Seoul.

“We are going to get complete denuclearisation; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” he said.

North Korean state media reported on Wednesday that Kim and Trump had recognized the principle of “step-by-step and simultaneous action” to achieve peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

The summit statement provided no details on when North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified.

Skeptics of how much the meeting achieved pointed to the North Korean leadership’s long-held view that nuclear weapons are a bulwark against what it fears are U.S. plans to overthrow it and unite the Korean peninsula.

……. Kim understood getting rid of his nuclear arsenal needed to be done quickly and there would only be relief from stringent U.N. sanctions on North Korea after its “complete denuclearisation”, Pompeo said.

Moon later said South Korea would be flexible when it comes to military pressure on North Korea if it is sincere about denuclearisation.

Also on Thursday, North and South Korea held their first military talks in more than a decade. The talks followed on from an inter-Korean summit in April at which Moon and Kim agreed to defuse tension and cease “hostile acts”.

Speaking later in the day in Beijing, Pompeo said China, Japan and South Korea all acknowledged a corner had been turned on the Korean peninsula issue, but that all three had also acknowledged sanctions remain in place until denuclearisation is complete.

…… we have made very clear that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after the full denuclearisation, the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa/pompeo-says-north-korea-sanctions-to-remain-until-complete-denuclearization-idUSKBN1JA07O

June 15, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Safety measure for World Cup – Russia halts nuclear waste transport

World Cup puts break on nuclear transport, A load of containers with spent nuclear fuel from Andreeva Bay on the Kola Peninsula will have to wait because of a general ban on transport of dangerous goods in Russia during the Football World Cup. https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2018/06/world-cup-puts-break-nuclear-transport  Thomas Nilsen, 14 June 18, June 14, 2018

Russia puts priority to safety and doesn’t want any potential lethal substances moving around during the four weeks with World Cup when tens of thousands of football fans are commuting by railway to different cities.

In the north, the ban now delays a shipment of nuclear waste that otherwise would be on its way to Mayak north of Chelyabinsk in the South Urals.

Head of Rosatom State Nuclear Corporation’s international technical assistance project, Anatoly Grigoryev, says three railway sets already have departed to Mayak this year. «The fourth is ready, but we can’t send it because transport of dangerous goods during the World Cup is prohibited,» Grigoriyev says to Interfax in an interview reposted by Rosatom.

From Andreeva Bay near Russia’s border to Norway, the containers with old uranium fuel from Cold War submarines are shipped to Murmansk, where they are loaded over to a set of special rail-wagons. From Murmansk, the train follows Russia’s railway lines south through Karelia towards St. Petersburg and Yaroslav before heading east towards the Urals, a distance of more than 1,600 kilometers.

Mayak reprocessing plant is located between the cities of Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg. The last is one of the cities where football matches will be played.

Anatoly Grigoryev assures that the load of nuclear waste containers from the Murmansk region will be shipped to Mayak as soon as the World Cup is over by mid-July.

Last June, a top brass of Russian and Norwegian politicians, diplomates and nuclear safety experts cheered and waved as the first load of containers set out to sea from Andreeva Bay. Since the 1990s, Norway has spent tens of millions of euros to support preparing for the nuclear waste removal from the site to start.

In Murmansk, nuclear safety expert with the Bellona Foundation, Andrey Zolotkov, says this is the first time to his knowledge transport of nuclear waste has been put on break for such reason as a international tournament.

«I don’t recall any such thing. This is most likely due to keeping the railway routes free from such cargos because of all the [football] fans on the move,» Zolotkov says to the Barents Observer. Additional to Bellona, Zolotkov has for many years been working on board the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet’s transport- and storage vessel «Imandra».

From Murmansk, the nuclear waste cargo-train follows the same tracks, and through the same big cities, as ordinary passenger trains.

«After all, we are just talking about a one month delay,» Andrey Zolotkov explains pointing to the many-years it will take to remove all spent nuclear fuel elements from Andreeva Bay.

A total of about 22,000 such uranium fuel elements where stored in three rundown concrete tanks. That is equal to about 100 submarine reactor cores.

Anatoly Grigoryev with Rosatom estimates it will take about 10 years to remove it all from the Kola Peninsula to the Mayak plant.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Completely ignored in nuclear summit talks – the forgotten North Korean victims of 1945 atomic bombs

Trump–Kim: an agenda for forgotten nuclear victims, ps://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/trump-kim-agenda-forgotten-nuclear-victimsThe Interpreter, BY Lauren Richardson, @Lauren_ANU  14 June 18

Like most Korea observers, in the lead-up to the Trump–Kim summit I have been inundated with questions from journalists and friends alike. Does Kim Jong-un have any actual intention to denuclearise? Would Donald Trump settle for anything less than complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament (CVID) of North Korea’s nuclear program? Will North Korea’s human rights abuses be on the agenda? And, in that vein, will Trump raise the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens?

There is, however, one question that no one is asking. And it is a crucial one.

What about the North Korean A-bomb victims, the only survivors of the US nuclear attacks on Japan, who have never had recourse to monetary redress? Will they be on the summit agenda?

The absence of this question in the summit discussions is unsurprising. North Koreans are the forgotten victims of the atomic bombs and represent a gap in global memory of nuclear issues. It is not commonly known that when the US dropped atomic bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1945, roughly 10% of the victims of these attacks were of Korean descent.

Koreans were residing in the A-bomb target cities in large numbers under colonial auspices: in many cases they had been brought there against their will, forced to perform labour in Japan’s military industrial factories.

And it is a virtually unknown fact that when Koreans were repatriated to their newly divided homeland in the years following Japan’s surrender, approximately 2000 of the A-bomb survivors wound up north of the 38th parallel, suffering from the unrelenting effects of the radiation blast. Many of them are still alive and ailing today. In a further twist of fate, owing to the lack of diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Tokyo, North Korean victims were precluded from financial assistance provided by the Japanese government to overseas A-bomb survivors, including South Koreans, in later decades. This was premised on a belief that “the money would likely never reach them”.

The plight of the North Koreans would never have come to light at all were it not for an activist named Lee Sil-gun. I have sat with Lee in Hiroshima on a number of occasions to interview him about his advocacy efforts. He was born in Japan in 1929 to Korean parents, and became an atomic bomb victim by virtue of exposure to residual radiation in Hiroshima.

In the post-war years, as the plight of A-bomb victims became politicised in Japan and the redress movement launched by South Korean victims gradually gained traction, he was dismayed to find that the voiceless North Koreans had been left out of the discourse:

I knew that there were victims in the North because I farewelled them at the port when they were shipped off from Japan after the Second World War.

Lee began embarking on annual visits to Pyongyang in the 1990s in an attempt to reach out to the victims there. He was supported in this endeavour by a small group of dedicated Japanese anti-nuclear activists.

They found the North Koreans in a terrible predicament: without recourse to adequate medical care, the victims were resorting to various primitive methods to treat their radiation-related maladies. They were burning sulphur, for instance, and using the smoke to sterilise recurrent wounds.

On discovering this, Lee and his supporters arranged a dispatch of Japanese medical practitioners to the DPRK to train local doctors in the treatment of A-bomb illness; they then organised a converse delegation of victims and doctors from North Korea to Japan, to respectively undergo treatment and be familiarised with advanced medical equipment.

North Korean officials were appreciative of and inspired by Lee’s efforts, and in 1997 issued him with an astonishing request. They asked Lee if he would organise a photo exhibition in North Korea depicting the destructive impact of nuclear weapons. Lee happily obliged, and this exhibit came to fruition two years later: 77 photos were displayed in the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang from 13–18 August 1999.

I found a newspaper article about this event in an archive in Seoul. When I asked Lee how he managed to pull it off, he became choked with emotion. Through tears, he said:

I went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and asked if I could borrow some of their posters and photos. At first they were reluctant, but eventually they let them have them for a month. I was so happy.

Four reasons make plain why this issue should be part of the Trump–Kim summit and any ongoing US–DPRK talks.

First, for Trump to acknowledge North Korea’s long-ailing A-bomb victims would be the best way to set the scene for talks on denuclearisation. Consider Barack Obama’s playbook, for instance. When he made an historic visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in 2016, paying homage to the nuclear victims, it did wonders for US–Japan relations. Paying tribute to the North Korean victims at the summit would serve to frame the negotiations in such a way that Pyongyang was not the only party with adverse nuclear potential at the table.

Second, the issue of North Korean A-bomb victims would be a reminder that the devastating potential of nuclear weapons is embedded in the memory of North Korea. This should factor into Trump’s strategic calculus of Kim’s intentions for his nuclear program.

To be sure, Kim is young and did not experience first-hand the turmoil in Northeast in the aftermath of the US atomic bombings. But his grandfather did. And his own father permitted the efforts of activists from Japan to advocate on behalf of North Korean A-bomb victims – the same victims that live among Kim Jong-un’s populace today. Thus, if Trump does not manage to achieve the grand CVID bargain that he hopes for at the summit, he shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Kim intends to use his nukes in the near future.

Third, any settlement regarding the “denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula should reasonably entail the establishment of a specialist treatment facility for A-bomb victims in the North. Two years ago, I visited a nursing home that offers round-the-clock treatment to the South Korean victims in Hapcheon County; the patients reported to me that they were still having tiny shards of glass surgically removed from their faces all these decades down the track.

While I don’t wish to suggest that the South Koreans are better off – in fact, they are still suffering immensely – the North Koreans have been left without any such facility. If the 1945 chapter of nuclear history has still not been settled, how can we expect to settle the current one with North Korea?

Lastly, raising the North Korean A-bomb victims issue would serve as a stark reminder at the summit that there is still only one government that has deployed nuclear weapons in conflict, and it is not Pyongyang. To the contrary, (the now) North and South Koreans were the collateral damage of that historic conflict, and many are still awaiting redress.

* This piece is based on a forthcoming journal article.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Huge USA weapons purchase by Saudi Arabia was on condition that USA would KILL THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT!

US Promised Saudis to ‘Kill Iran Nuclear Deal’ – Analyst Sputnik News, 14 June18    Saudi Arabia made its defense cooperation with the US conditional on Washington exiting the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the founder of the Ibero-Persia consultancy firm has said.

The large-scale US arms supplies to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 made it perfectly clear that the sanctions against Iran were coming back and the nuclear deal was dead,” Sharoj Habibi claimed in an interview with Sputnik Mundo.

According to Habibi, the contract for the delivery  of delivery of $350 billion worth of US-made THAAD air defense missile systems to Riyadh was negotiated, among others, by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“Obviously, if you let your son-in-law clinch such a deal, this big-time operation is bound to offer very lucrative bonuses,” Habibi noted adding that the Trump family could have earned a very comfortable, though undisclosed, commission from the deal.

He alleged that as part of the contract, the US authorities “promised to do everything possible to kill the nuclear agreement with Tehran, which made it possible for Iran to economically outpace Saudi Arabia and develop its gas producing sector. Iranian gas would effectively sideline America’s Middle Eastern ally, Saudi Arabia,” the expert said.

He added that because Riyadh’s ultimate goal is to  ”control everything that is happening in the Middle East,” it needs to bring the US into play.  With Donald Trump’s arrival inat the White House, he continued, the Saudis jumped on the occasion.

“Therefore, instead of calling Trump crazy or dumb, I would say that he is an unscrupulous or ruthless businessman,” Habibi noted.

During his May 2016 official visit to Saudi Arabia, President Trump signed off on a historic arms delivery deal with Riyadh to the tune of up to $350 billion.

Washington sees the agreement as a means of boosting the Gulf kingdom’s defense capabilities and supporting its efforts to counter terrorist groups operating in the region

…….Iran has been in full compliance with the terms of agreement as verified in 11 inspection reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).On June 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States was walking out of the nuclear agreement with Tehran, a decision that has been strongly criticized by other signatories to the deal, including the EU, Russia and China.https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201806141065411103-saudi-us-arms-deal/

 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | 1 Comment

In North Korea, Kim Jong Un is seen as the tough winner, in Singapore nuclear summit

North Korea’s view of negotiations with Trump: Kim was the tough one. SMH, By Kirsty Needham, 13 June 18, Singapore: A day after Donald Trump gave the world his version of the historic talks with Kim Jong-un, North Korean media has provided the view of the other person in the room.

Trump spoke casually at a press conference about ending US “war games” with South Korea, but the North Korean state news agency KCNA highlighted it as a win for Kim. The news agency said the halt to joint military exercises would continue while the US and North Korea undertook “goodwill dialogue”.

North Korea also highlighted Trump’s offer of security guarantees and a lifting of economic sanctions as negotiations advance and the mutual relationship improves.

Kim underlined Trump’s “bold decision on halting irritating and hostile military actions”, which, according to KCNA, came after Kim told Trump the two sides should stop antagonising one another.

An end to the “war games” was not in the letter signed by the two men after negotiations ended on Tuesday. The militaries of South Korea and the US also revealed they had not been informed of the move before Trump made his televised comments.

KCNA reported that Kim had won support from Trump for “the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace”.

“Kim Jong-un clarified the stand that if the US side takes genuine measures for building trust in order to improve the DPRK-US relationship, the DPRK, too, can continue to take additional goodwill measures of the next stage commensurate with them,” said the KCNA report.

This means the US must offer concessions before it will see further steps from North Korea. The need for “simultaneous” action may be the reason nothing more concrete was signed at the summit, and why there was as yet no agreement for a peace treaty to end the Korean War, despite high expectations.

The version presented to the North Korean public in some ways presents a mirror image of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s depiction of the US side as tough negotiators who were unwilling to budge on the demand for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation by North
Korea.

Through the lens of the North Korean media reports, it was Kim who held the North Korean line and was the tough negotiator.

The North Korean media nonetheless trumpeted the improved rapport between the two sides and friendly atmospherics of the meeting.

…….China also welcomed the end of war games, with foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying the halt to military exercises was an endorsement of China’s roadmap for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“The facts have proven that the China-proposed ‘suspension for suspension’ initiative has been materialised … The DPRK-US summit is what China has been looking forward to and striving for all along,” Geng said.https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/kim-jong-un-the-tough-negotiator-with-trump-says-north-korean-media-20180613-p4zl8s.html

June 15, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

The huge danger to Americans of keeping hundreds of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert

The US still keeps hundreds of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert — here’s what it means and why it’s a huge risk https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trump-kim-nuclear-summit-hair-trigger-alert-2018-6?r=US&IR=T, LEANNA GARFIELD

June 15, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive Particles Found in Homes of Workers at Major US Nuclear Weapons Facility

Radioactive Dust Found in Homes of Workers at Major US Nuclear Weapons Facility,  Radioactive microparticles were detected in the homes of six workers in central Washington state’s Tri-City area who are associated with the Hanford nuclear site, a major Cold War-era plutonium manufacturing facility, scientists have reported. Sputnik News, 14 June 18 

A study published this month in the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science reported that small but still dangerous amounts of radioactive elements were found in dust collected by cloth wipes and vacuum cleaners in order to track the potential spread of radiation from one of the United States’ most notorious nuclear cleanup sites.

The same study also found radioactive particles in the homes of nuclear workers associated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado. All three sites are heavily associated with nuclear weapons production.

It’s believed the particles could have found their way into the homes in a variety of ways, including being attached to workers’ clothing and being stirred up by wind storms and wildfires, which are common in the region, and blown inside.

The tests found radioactive uranium, thorium, plutonium and americium particles that, while innocuous in the external environment, represent a “potential source of internal radiation exposure” if ingested, warns Marco Kaltofen, a civil engineer affiliated with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and author of the study, the Seattle Times reported.

Exposure to these materials increases the risk of cancer, the study noted. Plutonium is “fiendishly toxic, even in small amounts,” said Glenn Seaborg, the physicist who discovered the element in 1941, as quoted in a 2011 fact sheet on the Rocky Flats site. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry notes in its public health statement on thorium exposure that the radioactive isotopes can sit in the soil for decades and cause lung cancer if inhaled. Uranium ingestion mainly targets the kidneys, the ATSDR notes, while americium destroys and irradiates bone tissue and can cause bone cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma and damage the thyroid.

“These radioactive particles are tiny and difficult to detect once you get a few inches away, but once inside the body, the distance from our tissue is essentially zero,” Kaltofen explained. While the skin can handle certain amounts of radiation safely, the body’s internal organs have no protection and a tiny amount can prove fatally toxic. Polonium-210, for example, is 250 million times more toxic than hydrogen cyanide, the New York Times reported.

The report’s conclusions come from years of testing coordinated with Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based organization that has fought for decades for accountability in the federal cleanup of the Hanford site. Kaltofen used an unusual technique that involves both electron microscopy and a specialized X-ray analysis that can detect extremely low levels of radioactive particles. The samples were compared to those taken from the Hanford site, which served as a kind of fingerprint for identifying the particles.

The levels found in the Hanford workers’ homes represented a health risk exceeding that considered acceptable by the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s safety standards.

…….. The Yakama Nation, whose reservation sits only 20 miles from the site, for decades fought turning Hanford into a nuclear waste site, as did other affected tribes such as the Nez Perce and Umatilla nations. Three counties around the Yakama reservation have seen high rates of a rare and fatal birth defect called anencephaly, in which a fetus’ brain and skull fail to fully form, which is believed to be caused by irradiation, Earth Island reported. Higher rates of anencephaly are also associated with sites in Iraq where the US military used depleted uranium rounds during the Iraq War, Iraqi doctors in Basra and Baghdad have noted.

Indigenous nations in Washington aren’t the only ones negatively affected by the US nuclear weapons program: decades of uranium mining in the Navajo Nation have caused extensive irradiation of the countryside, creating a disease known as Navajo Neuropathy, NPR reported. One spring in northeastern Arizona was reported in 2015 to have uranium levels “at least five times greater than safe drinking water standards” by a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The contamination caused the early deaths of many children who drank from the spring or whose mothers drank the water while pregnant. https://sputniknews.com/us/201806141065421254-Radioactive-Dust-Found-US-Homes/

June 15, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings considers scrapping the shuttered Fukushima Dai-ni, or No. 2, nuclear plant

Japanese utility eyes scrapping 2nd Fukushima nuclear plant http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/japanese-utility-eyes-scrapping-2nd-fukushima-nuclear-plant-1.4705532, When Fukushima No. 2 is dismantled, Japan will have 35 workable reactors, down from 54 pre-disaster, The Associated Press  

June 15, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Guam wants inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program: U.S. Senate considering this

S Senate panel to hear Guam’s inclusion in radiation exposure compensation program http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/105237-us-senate-panel-to-hear-guam-s-inclusion-in-radiation-exposure-compensation-program, 15 Jun 2018, Mar-Vic Cagurangan – For Variety HAGÅTÑA — Guam is getting close to achieving its long quest for inclusion in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | OCEANIA, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Moving radioactive sludge from near Columbia River to the middle of the Hanford nuclear site

Major Problems at Hanford Nuclear Waste Site – King 5 Reports

Hanford workers move radioactive sludge to new storage facility https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/hanford/hanford-workers-move-radioactive-sludge-to-new-storage-facility/281-564101443

Workers will pump radioactive sludge to an adjacent building near the Columbia River, where it will be packaged and transported to the middle of the Hanford site.  Allison Sundell, June 13, 2018 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

A very hard project – Trump trying to bail out coal and nuclear power

Trump Wants to Bail Out Coal and Nuclear Power. Here’s Why That Will Be Hard.   NYT, 

June 15, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Jordan knocks back Russia’s $10 billion nuclear power plant , but contemplates”small floating reactor”

Jordan turns down a Rosatom plant, but dangles possible small reactor collaboration with Russia  In a blow to the international business interests of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Jordan has scrapped a plan to build a $10 billion nuclear power plant with Moscow’s help. Bellona,   by Charles Digges

In a blow to the international business interests of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Jordan has scrapped a plan to build a $10 billion nuclear power plant with Moscow’s help.

Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission, the JAEC, said on Monday that the project, after three years of study and consideration, had collapsed over disagreements on how to finance the the build, which would have included two nuclear reactors built by Rosatom.

But canceling the larger plant, said the JAEC, doesn’t mean Jordan won’t be working with Russia on any nuclear projects at all. According to the commission, it’s possible that Rosatom would furnish the Mediterranean nation with small modular reactors instead.

On Monday, the commission said in a statement that the larger project was off because the commercial loans Rosatom wanted Joran to secure to finance construction would drive up the cost of the electricity the plant would eventually produce.
………Without specifically mentioning the cancellation of the larger plant, Rosatom said in a statement on May 27 that it and JAEC had decided to “intensify and step up” cooperation on small modular reactors and form a joint feasibility study for such a project based on Russian designs.

Yet what these reactors might consist of remains somewhat mysterious. Russia has signed agreements with other countries for work on small-scale reactors, most recently Sudan, to which it vaguely promised to build a floating nuclear power plant.

…… Rosatom repeatedly said that foreign customers would flock to Moscow to order floating nuclear power plants of its own.

Those orders have yet to materialize, but that hasn’t stopped Rosatom from repeating the mantra that floating plants will be a prime offering to its foreign customers. Whether an offer to build Jordan a floating plant will come to pass remains unknown. But increasingly, the notion of floating plants seems synonymous with Rosatom’s small reactor development schemes. http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2018-06-jordan-turns-down-a-rosatom-plant-but-dangles-possible-small-reactor-collaboration-with-russia

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Jordan, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

It’s getting more absurd – Nations Throwing Cash At Nuclear ‘White Elephants’

Jeremy Leggett: Why Are Nations Throwing Cash At Nuclear ‘White Elephants’? Impact4All.org, 14 June 18 

In recent weeks we have seen evidence on the one hand of the fast advance of renewable energy, and on the other the incredible resilience of the energy-incumbency defence against that advance, including big oil and nuclear.

Celebrations of the fast growth of renewables I will leave to the inestimable REN21 report, published on 4 June. All clean-energy advocates should spend some time immersed in it, arming themselves with bullish ammunition. The point I want to make in this column is about the residual strength of the incumbency rearguard action.

In the last week of May and the first week of June the UK, US, and Canadian governments all tried to bail out uneconomic or stranded fossil fuel and nuclear projects with many billions in public funds. I have dubbed it “The Week of the White Elephants.”

First, the Canadian government bailed out a stranded Kinder Morgan oil pipeline system for US$3.5 bn. They hope to sell this, the Trans Mountain pipeline, in due course. Analysts doubt they can, so economically unattractive and risky is the proposition. In the interim, protestors have labelled Canadian

PM Justin Trudeau – who says he aspires to be a climate hero – a climate criminal.

Second, US President Donald Trump ordered emergency federal action to stem coal and nuclear plant shutdowns. Proposals in a leaked memo included forcing utilities to buy electricity from coal and nuclear operators for two years, despite the fact that renewables and gas are both better value. The Economist describes Trump’s gambit as follows: “The plan would benefit a handful of firms the president favours at the expense of consumers: it entails up to $12bn worth of ‘cash for cronies’.”

Third, in a remarkable U-turn, the UK government agreed to a £5bn injection of taxpayer money into a Welsh nuclear power station, Wylfa. The total cost, to be shared with Hitachi and Japanese government, is £16 bn. The price of power will be £75-77 MWh (they say). That is more than solar and wind.

These are all very strange things to do when you consider not just the economics but the general direction of travel in all relevant areas

……..As for the UK nuclear decision, in France nuclear regulators now fear an “epidemic” safety-culture collapse at Flamanville, the supposed precursor of the British Hinkley Point C reactor. 150 weld failures mean the nuclear plant scheduled online in 2012 at €3.5bn is now probably delayed to 2020, at €10.5bn and counting. This is not the same type of reactor that Hitachi intends for Wylfa, but the horror show at Flamanville shows how badly, and quickly, things can go wrong in modern nuclear.As the formerly pro-nuclear The Economist put it in 2016, in a analysis entitled “Hinkley Pointless”, “Britain should cancel its nuclear white elephant and spend the billions on making renewables work.”…….https://impact4all.org/jeremy-leggett-new-coal-and-nuclear-deals-show-power-of-incumbent-energy-players/

June 15, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Trump Administration’s plan to rescue coal and nuclear industries

Massive FERC Flop For Plan To Save Coal & Nuclear Power Plants, Clean Technica, June 13th, 2018 by Tina Casey 


The Trump Administration has devised a new plan for saving the nation’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear power plants, but so far it has been going over like a lead balloon. At a Senate hearing yesterday, all five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave it the thumbs down.

Wait — what? Did you really think there was a chance the plan get the seal of approval from any of the FERC commissioners? Come to think of it, maybe. After all, the FERC Chairman himself was appointed by President* Trump. So, what went wrong at yesterday’s hearing?

What’s The Plan, Stan?

The new plan leverages the Energy Department’s authority to keep the electricity flowing under the federal Power Act. Here’s an explainer from the agency (emphasis added because that’s the important bit):

Under FPA section 202(c) during the continuance of a war in which the United States is engaged or when an emergency exists by reason of a sudden increase in the demand for electric energy, or a shortage of electric energy, or of facilities for the generation or transmission of electric energy, or of the fuel or water for generating facilities, or other causes, the Secretary of Energy may require by order temporary connections of facilities, and generation, delivery, interchange, or transmission of electricity as the Secretary determines will best meet the emergency and serve the public interest.

Fair enough. The question is whether or not an emergency exists, and at yesterday’s hearing the FERC commissioners couldn’t find anything in that long list of section 202(c) emergencies that would apply to the nation’s fleet of coal and nuclear power plants.

Meet The New Plan, Same As The Old Plan

More to the point, November’s midterm Congressional elections are fast approaching, so anything that looks like a taxpayer bailout is doomed to fail.

CleanTechnica predicted as much in a piece published Monday morning, before yesterday’s Senate hearing got under way………https://cleantechnica.com/2018/06/13/massive-ferc-flop-for-plan-to-save-coal-nuclear-power-plants/

June 15, 2018 Posted by | public opinion, USA | Leave a comment

The nuclear power industry is dying under its own weight.New small nuclear reactors too costly, too late

Nuclear Power Won’t Survive Without A Government Handout, Five Thirty Eight, By Maggie Koerth-Baker  14 June 18Once upon a time, if you were an American who didn’t like nuclear energy, you had to stage sit-ins and marches and chain yourself to various inanimate objects in hopes of closing the nation’s nuclear power plants. Today … all you have to do is sit back and wait.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment