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Moorside nuclear power project in doubt

Fate of new Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria in doubt https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/29/fate-of-new-moorside-nuclear-power-station-in-cumbria-in-doubt

Delay in sale of consortium behind plant leads Toshiba to lay off 100 UK project staff, Guardian,  Adam Vaughan, 29 July 18, 

Doubts have been raised over the fate of a new nuclear power station planned for Cumbria after it emerged that most of the project’s 100 UK staff had been laid off.

Toshiba has been trying to sell the NuGeneration consortium behind the Moorside plant since it had to write off billions of dollars because of problems with its US nuclear business last year.

The Korean state-owned firm Kepco appeared to swoop to the rescue last December by agreeing to buy NuGen but the sale, which was meant to complete this January, was then delayed until the spring. The transaction has still not closed, and uncertainty has been created by a change of government in Seoul and the appointment of a new Kepco chiefexecutive.

The delay has forced Toshiba, a Japanese corporation, to look again at the consortium’s running costs, leading to a decision on 27 July to cut many of the venture’s 100 jobs across Manchester and Cumbria. The job losses will be subject to consultations.

Toshiba is believed to have spent hundreds of millions of pounds developing the project so far. In a statement NuGen said: “It has been decided by the NuGen board to re-profile the organisation at this point in order to pursue alternatives.”

It remains unclear whether the South Koreans will go ahead with a deal that looked a certainty last year. Kepco officials are due to arrive in the UK on Monday, and the UK government has been in talks to save the deal. A source close to the process said: “The Kepco deal is not dead yet.”

If the acquisition were to collapse the failure of the Moorside project would leave a large hole in ministers’ wishes to encourage the construction of as many as six new nuclear power plants to meet climate goals.

Unions said the problems showed that a recent sector deal between government and industry did not got far enough to ensure nuclear installations were built.

ue Ferns, senior deputy general secretary of the union Prospect, said: “Despite the welcome nuclear sector deal it is increasingly clear that the government needs to do far more to reassure the nuclear industry and support them in developing the next generation of low-carbon energy sources in the UK.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We continue to engage with new-build developers, though the detail of these discussions is commercially confidential.”

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July 30, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Japan keen to have a nuclear export business: it all depends on building nuclear reactors in the UK

Japan and Hitachi pin nuclear export hopes on U.K. project in Wales https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/29/business/japan-hitachi-pin-nuclear-export-hopes-u-k-project-wales/#.W14xP9IzbGg, BY JUNKO HORIUCHI KYODO 

A nuclear power plant project in Britain is giving Japan a glimmer of hope for spurring infrastructure exports, a key growth strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Hitachi Ltd. and the U.K. government started official talks last month on building new reactors in Wales, with a goal of firing them up in the first half of the 2020s.

The outlook for the ¥3 trillion project is unclear, with both sides facing a string of challenges in the talks going forward.

For Tokyo, the plan is one of its few remaining major overseas projects on the horizon, with other nuclear power generation plans discontinued or facing cancellation.

The government’s bet on nuclear power plants as a pillar of infrastructure exports comes as the likes of Germany, Italy, Taiwan and South Korea are pulling out of atomic power generation.

Critics argue that a surge in safety costs and accident worries caused by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, in addition to the lack of viable disposal solutions for radioactive waste, mean there is no justification for keeping faith in nuclear energy. Compounding the sector’s decline is the rapidly dropping cost of tapping such renewable energy sources as wind and solar power.

Still, some emerging economies look like they will need new nuclear power plants, and Japanese builders see few chances to construct new ones anytime soon in Japan.

“The Japanese government has been pushing hard for exports of nuclear power plants but it’s clear that it’s not going well,” said Tadahiro Katsuta, a professor at Meiji University. “The government will spare no effort in giving momentum to the exports.”

If the project in Britain proves successful, it will give the government “a good excuse” to push harder abroad, he said.

Before the official talks began, Hitachi had told Britain it might not take part in the project to build two advanced boiling water reactors on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, because the price tag had soared higher than initially estimated.

But an offer by London to shoulder about two-thirds of the cost convinced Hitachi stay in. Tokyo welcomed its decision to begin the talks.

“The nuclear business overseas is significant … it would lead to strengthening and maintaining human resources and technology for nuclear power in Japan,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko told a news conference.

Under the agreement, the British government will subsidize much of the cost through direct investment and loan guarantees, according to sources close to the matter.

“We are currently examining the financial and cost issues of the project, before making a final decision in 2019 on whether to invest in the project,” Hitachi Chief Financial Officer Mitsuaki Nishiyama said Friday at a news conference to announce earnings.

For Hitachi, nuclear power is a core operation. It wants to increase revenue from the business by more than 33 percent to ¥250 billion over the four years through March 2022, mainly through boosting overseas revenue.

Rival Toshiba Corp. exited overseas nuclear operations after incurring huge losses in the United States, a decision that could cripple Tokyo’s efforts to promote Japanese nuclear plants abroad.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., is pursuing a nuclear power plant project in Turkey. But it hit a snag when it saw safety-related costs surge and trading house Itochu Corp. walked away from the project.

In another blow to the government, Vietnam in 2016 decided to abandon a plan to build its first nuclear power plant with Japanese assistance due to tight state finances.

Those failures have led to an increased focus on the new power station in Wales. But London and Hitachi still need to address such issues as how to spread the remainder of the costs among Hitachi, local companies and Japan-backed financial institutions. They also need to determine who should be held liable if there’s a major accident.

They are also at odds over how much the electricity produced at the plant should cost. Britain at one point offered a price some 20 percent lower than what Hitachi wanted, a source familiar with the matter said.

“A key focus of discussions with Hitachi has been and will continue to be achieving lower-cost electricity for consumers,” Greg Clark, British business and energy secretary, told Parliament last month.

The two sides also need to talk to residents and win over those worried about the new power station.

“We have a major multinational and two governments supposed to be democracies playing a high-stakes game of poker … without any transparency or scrutiny for the people that they are representing,” Mei Tomos, a resident of Wales, said at a news conference in Tokyo during a recent visit to Japan.

“We have seen the destruction which nuclear power can cause. It is really too much to expect us to take the same risks. Even if such an accident didn’t happen at Anglesey we will still be faced with over a hundred years of storage of nuclear waste on site which presents a massive danger to us,” another resident, Robert Davies, said at the news conference.

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Japan, marketing, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Extreme heat is reported on news media, but climate change is rarely mentioned

Newspapers are failing to connect extreme heat to climate change https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/07/27/Newspapers-are-failing-to-connect-extreme-heat-to-climate-change/220822

During the recent heat wave, only about 11 percent of articles mentioned global warming, a new report finds  EVLONDO COOPER 

Almost 90 percent of articles about the recent heat wave in the biggest 50 U.S. newspapers failed to mention hot weather’s connection to climate change, according to a new report published by the nonprofit Public Citizen.

This unfortunate trend extends beyond newspapers. Media Matters has documented how rarely broadcast TV networks cover climate change. Our most recent study looked at how the major broadcast networks covered the links between climate change and extreme heat and found that over a two-week period from late June to early July, only one segment out of 127 about the heat wave mentioned climate change.

Public Citizen looked at coverage of extreme heat in the top 50 U.S. newspapers by circulation over the first half of 2018 and found that less than 18 percent of the articles mentioned climate change:

In the top 50 newspapers, a total of 760 articles mentioned extreme heat, heat waves, record heat, or record temperatures from January 1 to July 8, 2018. One hundred thirty-four of these pieces (17.6 percent) also mentioned climate change or global warming.

During the period June 27 to July 8, only 23 of 204 heat-related articles (11.3 percent) mentioned climate.

During the heat wave, there were 673 articles, with 26 (3.9 percent) mentioning climate.

In late June and early July, when a heat wave was afflicting much of the U.S., the percentage of articles mentioning climate change was even lower:

Public Citizen also looked beyond the top 50 papers to see how extreme heat was covered in papers in 13 states where 10 or more local areas broke heat records from June 27 to July 8. This more localized newspaper coverage was even worse:

While writers and editors may want to exercise caution in attributing any individual event to climate change, the science is clear that our warming climate is making extreme events like heat waves, floods, and fires more intense and more frequent. That’s why environmental journalists and communicators have been calling on major news outlets to do a better job of covering climate change and the environmental rollbacks that could make things worse.

Public Citizen’s report did highlight notable exceptions when newspapers did strong reporting to connect extreme heat to climate change — such as a story by Austin American-Statesman reporter Roberto Villalpando that explained how climate change is bringing 100-degree days to Austin earlier in the year. Despite this, the report concluded, “U.S. news outlets continue to tell only half the story. These exceptions need to become the norm if the public is going to wake from its slumber on climate change in time to take the bold action we urgently need to avoid catastrophic harm, and possibly even an existential threat to the U.S., later this century.”

July 30, 2018 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

The insidious toll of climate change heat on workers, and on the economy

Heat waves can be deadly for workers and will drain the US economy https://www.vox.com/2018/7/27/17611940/heat-wave-2018-cost-workers-deaths-health-climate-change

Extreme heat has already killed several outdoor workers this summer.

July 30, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Responses to European Court of Justice’s approval of Hinkley nuclear project

Hinkley Notes, No2Nuclearpower, 29 July 18

 AN AUSTRIAN appeal against UK Government funding for Hinkley Point C has been dismissed after a sprawling investigation. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled the UK government’s contribution to the new nuclear power station did not constitute illegal ‘state aid’.

Green MEP for South West Dr Molly Scott-Cato said. “This decision is hugely regrettable. There can be no justification for EU subsidies to be thrown at nuclear. Hinkley C is a particular tragedy for the South West when we are blessed with exciting renewable energy alternatives. The region has huge potential for both onshore and offshore wind; for tidal and geothermal energy and is the region best suited in the whole of the UK to capture the power of the sun. Sadly, today’s ECJ ruling will only serve to reinforce the government’s ideological obsession with nuclear. The National Infrastructure Commission agrees that nuclear is not the way forward for the UK and that we should seize the golden opportunities that renewable energy technologies provide.” (1)

Austria objected on three grounds. First, that Britain was guaranteeing to buy energy from the plant for 35 years at £92.50 per megawatt hour, index-linked from 2012 – or twice today’s wholesale price. Second, the government has undertaken to compensate the developers “in the event of an early shutdown on political grounds”. Third, that the UK was happy to underwrite project debt, via credit guarantees on bond issues, up to a total £17 billion.

The Times said according to the ECJ none of that remotely counts as state aid. No, the EU’s general court has just slapped down Austria for bringing its complaint, arguing that “aid is necessary in order to attain, in good time, the objective of creating nuclear energy generating capacity” Yes, just don’t call it state aid. (2)

 Rebecca Harms, spokeswoman for the Greens / EFA Group in the European Parliament says “The Euratom Treaty is a relic of the past and gives the high-risk nuclear technology with billiondollar subsidies an unfair competitive advantage. The Euratom Treaty does not match the European requirements for clean energy and fair competition. We must end the distortion of competition in the European energy market, reform the Euratom Treaty and rely on the energy transition.” A report “Pathways to a Euratom Reform ” by Dr. Dörte Fouquet on behalf of the Greens / EFA Group is available here: http://rebeccaharms.de/files/1/n/1nqn7097gnq8/attc_9ZoZQVsNer5ciwSC.pdf

http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NuClearNewsNo109.pdf

July 30, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

USA’s bailout for coal and nuclear industries could cost over $34 billion

REPORT PROJECTS DOE COAL, NUCLEAR BAILOUT COSTS COULD TOP $34 BILLION, Popular Resistance, By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentechmedia.com 

A previous estimate, from a pro-coal group, put the cost at $4 billion.

Analysis out this week from The Brattle Group estimates the Trump administration’s coal and nuclear support plan could cost between $9.7 billion and $17.2 billion annually.

Working off of the scant details presented in a draft memorandum released by Bloomberg in May, The Brattle Group analyzed several scenarios the administration might employ to support nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

One assumes the government would pay an average $50-per-kilowatt flat rate to all plants, costing $16.7 billion a year. In another scenario, facilities experiencing shortfalls would be compensated directly at a customized level between $43 to $58 per kilowatt, costing between $9.7 billion and $17.2 billion each year. The draft memo suggested facilities would receive payments for two years, putting high-end cost estimates north of $34 billion for the duration of the program.

If the administration moves forward with a plan that pays facilities back for capital already invested in power plants, in addition to operating shortfalls, it bumps the price to $20 billion to $35 billion per year.

Brattle’s cost estimates dwarf the $4 billion calculated by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, presented in a report earlier this month. Groups that have opposed the potential policy, including Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy Association and the Natural Gas Supply Association, funded the Brattle report.

The widely varying price tags echo diverging opinions on the bailout policy.

In a statement on the Brattle analysis, Amy Farrell, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, called the costs “a steep price to pay in an era of U.S. energy abundance, when independent regulators and grid operators agree that orderly power plant retirements do not constitute an emergency.”……https://popularresistance.org/report-projects-doe-coal-nuclear-bailout-costs-could-top-34-billion/

July 30, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Guam nuclear bomb test veteran continues fight for radiation compensation

Atomic veteran continues fight for radiation compensation, Meghan Swartz | The Guam Daily Post , 27 July 18

As one of a few islanders in his company within the U.S. Army, Robert Celestial jumped at the chance to help with post-World War II cleanup in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the late 1970s. He looked forward to six months of island living and was promised a monthly trip to Hawaii for some R&R.

Not long after, Celestial found himself draining water from a crater on Lojwa Island in the Enewetak Atoll, wearing shorts, boots and a dust mask. The crater was left over from a nuclear test explosion. While he knew they were dealing with nuclear waste during the deployment, he said he did not know that was what the crater was from.

“We were never told the extent of the 66 nuclear detonations,” he said. “The only thing that was serious was the Air Force was in charge of the Geiger counters … if you see an Air Force guy running, then you better run.”

Like any good soldier, he followed orders and didn’t ask questions. When a magazine came to report on the cleanup, some soldiers donned a full-body protective suit. Celestial said it was the only time he saw the suit used.

Celestial said he and fellow soldiers often caught fish, lobster and octopus to eat. They were not told that the seafood could be contaminated until months after arriving.

More than 70 years after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Celestial’s past willingness to be exposed to that level of nuclear radiation is unthinkable.

But that was decades ago, at the dawn of the nuclear age. Few could be expected to predict the ramifications of their six-month cleanup tour.

An undetectable enemy

“We were all young. … We got to the Marshall Islands and it was beautiful,” he said. “You can’t see the danger, you can’t smell it, taste it. … We just did what they told us.”

Today, Celestial, who serves as president of the Guam-based Pacific Association for Radiation Survivors, says he is blessed: He hasn’t been diagnosed with cancer, unlike many of his fellow veterans, and was discharged from the Army with full disability.

Celestial said he deals with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. In fact, he said, almost all atomic veterans suffer from brittle bones. Two decades ago, while living in San Diego, California, Celestial was told he had the liver of a 90-year-old and was given four years to live, but he ultimately recovered.

Others have not been as fortunate. One Enewetak veteran, who lives in Maine, has been diagnosed with six distinct cancers, Celestial said. Because he was diagnosed after his separation from the military, he does not receive any compensation for medical costs.

Without any major medical issues, some wonder why Celestial has spent the better part of the past two decades fighting for Guam and veterans who participated in the Enewetak Atoll cleanup to receive federal reimbursement for illnesses linked to radiation exposure.

Proposed amendment

Legislation has been introduced that would expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. The current law has distributed more than $2 billion to residents within Nevada, Utah and Arizona who suffer from radiation-related illnesses, but will end payments by 2022. The last year for people to apply for coverage is 2020.

The proposed amendment would extend RECA by 19 years and offer up to $150,000 in medical coverage to residents of Guam, Idaho, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

In late June, Celestial gave testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Toward the end of the hearing, he was asked if he had cancer.

“I told them no,” Celestial said with a laugh. “It made other people realize … what the hell is he doing it for? I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it for other people. I’m fighting for the people of Guam and the other states, and I’m also fighting for the Enewetak veterans who haven’t been rightly identified.”

He said his Senate testimony – given alongside downwinder allies from Idaho, New Mexico and Navajo Nation – was a new high in his decades-long fight.

“Now the Senate really believes our testimonies,” Celestial said. “They really understand this.”

But he refuses to make any promises about the future.

“What we’ve done in the Senate is the closest we’ve come,” he said. “Now we have to go to the House.”

……… Years ago, Celestial’s fight was bolstered by a report from the Board on Radiation Effects Research, which determined that Guam “did receive measurable fallout.”

Without this proof, Celestial said, he would not have continued his work on RECA.

‘Very, very wrong’

Lt. Charles Bert Schreiber, a chemical, biological and radiological officer with the U.S. Navy who served on Guam in 1952, gave testimony to the BRER, saying that just two days after a nuclear explosion in the Marshall Islands, radiation level readings were off the charts on Guam.

According to Schreiber’s testimony in 2001, he went straight to the admiral’s top aide to see what needed to be done. Minutes later, he was told to leave.

“I then knew something was very, very wrong,” Schreiber said in his testimony.

After giving this testimony, containing information that Celestial said was previously classified above the top-secret level, Schreiber revealed to Celestial that a burden had been lifted from him, as he was finally able to share what happened.

“The Guamanians, for the large part, had only rainwater for drinking … and they were drinking highly contaminated radioactive water and I could not tell them to stop. The Navy … did not provide any information to the military personnel, civilians or the natives about how to protect themselves.”

According to Post files, Schreiber called it quite simply “madness.”  https://www.postguam.com/news/local/atomic-veteran-continues-fight-for-radiation-compensation/article_fa1b4024-931c-11e8-8401-87c44085fc5d.html

July 30, 2018 Posted by | health, Legal, PERSONAL STORIES, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) now recognised as unviable: governments still pouring money into them

AMRs rise from the ashes of SMRs  No2nuclearpower, 29 July 18

On both sides of the Atlantic billions of dollars are being poured into developing small modular reactors. (SMRs) But it seems increasingly unlikely that they will ever be commercially viable, writes Paul Brown on the Climate News Network.

The idea is to build dozens of the reactors (SMRs) in factories in kit form, to be assembled on site, thereby reducing their costs, a bit like the mass production of cars. The problem is finding a market big enough to justify the building of a factory to build nuclear power station kits. For the last 60 years the trend has been to build ever-larger nuclear reactors, hoping that they would pump out so much power that their output would be cheaper per unit than power from smaller stations. However, the cost of large stations has escalated so much that without massive government subsidies they will never be built, because they are not commercially viable. To get costs down, small factory-built reactors seemed the answer. It is not new technology, and efforts to introduce it are nothing new either, with UK hopes high just a few years ago. Small reactors have been built for decades for nuclear submarine propulsion and for ships like icebreakers, but for civilian use they have to produce electricity more cheaply than their renewable competitors, wind and solar power. A number of companies in the UK and North America are developing SMRs, and prototypes are expected to be up and running as early as 2025.

However, the next big step is getting investment in a factory to build them, which will mean getting enough advance orders to justify the cost. A group of pro-nuclear US scientists, who believe that nuclear technology is vital to fight climate change, have concluded that there is not a large enough market to make SMRS work. Their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that large reactors will be phased out on economic grounds, and that the market for SMRs is too small to be viable. On a market for the possible export of the hundreds of SMRs needed to reach viability, they say none large enough exists.

 In the UK, where the government in June poured £200 million ($263.8) into SMR development, a parliamentary briefing paper issued in July lists a whole raft of reasons why the technology may not find a market.  The paper’s authors doubt that a mass-produced reactor could be suitable for every site chosen; there might, for instance, be local conditions requiring extra safety features. They also doubt that there is enough of a market for SMRs in the UK to justify building a factory to produce them, because of public opposition to nuclear power and the reactors’ proximity to population centres. And although the industry and the government believe an export market exists, the report suggests this is optimistic, partly because so many countries have already rejected nuclear power

New funding measures for advanced reactor research and manufacturing will help the UK retain and grow its nuclear expertise and signals support for a widening range of SMR applications, according to Nuclear Energy Insider. The UK nuclear industry has broadly welcomed the UK government’s new 200 million-pound ($263.8-million) Nuclear Sector Deal which aims to cut the cost of nuclear power and bolster the UK skills base.

The deal, announced June 27, includes £56m towards the development and licensing of advanced modular reactor (AMR) designs and £32m towards advanced manufacturing research. In addition, the UK and Welsh governments will jointly invest $40 million in new thermal hydraulics testing. The development funding will initially allocate a total £4m to eight non-light water reactor (non-LWR) vendors, to perform detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies. The eight vendors are: Advanced Reactor Concepts; DBD; LeadCold; Moltex Energy (which is planning to build a demonstration SSR-W – Stable Salt Reactor Wasteburner at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick Canada); Tokamak Energy; U-Battery Developments; Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation and Westinghouse Electric Company UK

In April 2019, three or four of these companies will be selected to receive a total of £40m to accelerate the development of the design over two years. The Office for nuclear regulation will receive £5m to support the process and a further £7m to build regulatory resources to assess and license new designs.

The new development funding schedule indicates the government has slowed down and broadened its approach to SMR deployment since it launched a competition for the best value SMR in March 2016.

The latest funding announcements could, for now, prevent an exodus of UK expertise to other countries supporting SMR development. Several advanced reactor developers are simultaneously pursuing SMR programs in North America, where government support programs are larger

The final selection of SMR designs will come later than originally expected and signals a change in scope and a recognition of multiple potential applications, Mike Middleton, Strategy ManagerNuclear at the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), said. The funding scope recognises the application of SMR technologies could be “broader than the traditional role as a baseload electricity provider.”

In addition to baseload supply, SMR developers are targeting applications such as renewable energy load following, industrial power and heat, district heating, and hydrogen production.(3)

Meanwhile Rolls-Royce is threatening to shut down its SMR development project unless the government makes a long-term commitment including financial support in the coming months. It has scaled back investment significantly, from several millions to simply paying for “a handful of salaries”, said Warren East, Rolls-Royce chief executive. David Orr, executive vice-president of Rolls-Royce’s SMR programme, said that without comfort from the government on two fronts the project “will not fly. We are coming to crunch time.”

Rolls-Royce wants its technology to be chosen as the first to apply for a licence when a slot is made available later this year. It also wants the government to provide financial support, initially of about £20m, to take the technology through the early stages of the licensing process. This would be match-funded by the consortium, which includes companies such as Laing O’Rouke and Arup. Rolls-Royce is one of several consortia to have bid in a governmentsponsored competition launched in 2015 to find the most viable technology for a new generation of small nuclear power plants.

 However, when the nuclear sector deal was finally unveiled last month, the government allocated funding only for more advanced modular reactors (AMRs). SMR’s, which typically use water-cooled reactors similar to existing nuclear power stations, were omitted from specific funding even though they are closer to becoming commercial. This has frustrated those putting forward SMR bids. Rolls-Royce has argued that developing its technology should be regarded as a “national endeavour” to develop nuclear skills that can be used to create an export led industry. (4) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NuClearNewsNo109.pdf

July 30, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Russian hackers implanting malicious software in the U.S. power grid

The Hill 28th July 2018 , Intelligence officials and security analysts say Russian hackers are
devoting much more effort toward implanting malicious software in the U.S.
power grid than attempting to breach electoral systems, according to a new
report.

Several intelligence officials told The New York Times that Russian
efforts had been more focused on attacking and infiltrating U.S.
infrastructure systems, while interference in electoral systems remained
lower than the level witnessed in 2016.

The report comes days after the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that the scope of Russian
intrusions was far greater than previously realized, and that Russian
hackers gained access to the control rooms of power plants across the
country.
http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/399348-concerns-rise-about-russian-attempts-to-disrupt-us-electrical-grid

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Israel said to have 300 Nuclear Weapons. And Some Are in the ‘Ocean.

Israel Might Have as Many as 300 Nuclear Weapons. And Some Are in the ‘Ocean.’ National Interest
Thanks to Germany, 
by Sebastien Roblin, 24 July 18
Israel has  never officially admitted to possessing nuclear weapons.

Unofficially, Tel Aviv wants everyone to know it has them, and doesn’t hesitate to make thinly-veiled references to its willingness to use them if confronted by an existential threat. Estimates on the size of Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile range from 80 to 300 nuclear weapons, the latter number exceeding China’s arsenal……..

Though Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is preoccupied by the fear that an adversary might one day attempt a first strike to destroy its nuclear missiles and strike planes on the ground before they can retaliate. Currently, the only hostile states likely to acquire such a capability are Iran or Syria.

To forestall such a strategy, Israeli has aggressively targeted missile and nuclear technology programs in Iraq, Syria and Iran with air raids, sabotage and assassination campaigns . However, it also has developed a second-strike capability—that is, a survivable weapon which promises certain nuclear retaliation no matter how effective an enemy’s first strike……….In the 1990s the United States declined to provide Israel with submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles due to the rules of the Missile Technology Control Regime prohibiting transfer of cruise missile with a range exceeding 300 miles.

Instead, Tel Aviv went ahead and developed their own. In 2000, U.S. Navy radars detected test launches of Israeli SLCMs in the Indian Ocean that struck a target 930 miles away. The weapon is generally believed to be the Popeye Turbo—an adaptation of a subsonic air-launched cruise missile that can allegedly carry a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead. However, the SLCM’s characteristics are veiled in secrecy and some sources suggest a different missile type entirely is used. An Israeli Dolphin submarine may have struck the Syrian port of Latakia with a conventional cruise missile in 2013 due to reports of a shipment of Russian P-800 anti-ship missiles. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/israel-might-have-many-300-nuclear-weapons-and-some-are-ocean-27011

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Las Cruces city – resolution opposing transport and storage of nuclear wastes

City approves resolution opposing nuclear storage facility https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/City-approves-resolution-opposing-nuclear-storage-13114846.php

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces has become the latest community in New Mexico to voice opposition to building a nuclear waste storage facility in the southeast corner of the state.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the Las Cruces City Council on Monday approved a resolution opposing the transport and storage of high-level nuclear waste in the state.

Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company specializing in nuclear storage, has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to construct a nuclear waste storage facility about 35 miles east of Carlsbad.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is accepting public comment on the proposal through July 30. The council voted in support of the resolution after discussing the issue for nearly two-and-a-half hours.

July 30, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Warning about China’s state-owned companies being involved in Britain’s nuclear industry

Beware China’s role in UK nuclear industry https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/29/beware-china-role-in-uk-nuclear-industry

Jeffrey Henderson warns against Chinese state-owned firms playing a decisive part in one of our most strategically important industries. 

While we need to be concerned about China’s growing presence in Britain’s electricity generation (Nuclear power: China’s move into UK hints at scale of its wider ambitions, July 27), we should be asking searching questions of our government. They seem not to understand (or don’t care about) the nature of the companies they are dealing with.

Chinese state-owned enterprises are not like EDF or the German, Dutch and French state-owned firms that run our railways. They are dramatically different because China is governed by a Leninist state. Consequently, Chinese state firms are ultimately controlled not by the State Council’s State Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, but by the Communist party.

Furthermore, one of the two Chinese companies initially involved in the Hinkley Point plant, China National Nuclear (CNNC), while having a civil division, is mainly involved in the production of the country’s nuclear weapons. Consequently, it is almost certainly controlled by the Chinese military: the People’s Liberation Army.

With Chinese companies set to take the lead role at Bradwell and Sizewell (including building the reactors and running the stations) and, given EDF’s financial problems, a controlling stake in up to five other nuclear power plants, the British government is setting us up for a situation where the Chinese Communist party – and, assuming CNNC participation, the Chinese military – will have a decisive role in one of our most strategically important industries. To allow this borders on insanity and clearly has to be stopped.

Jeffrey Henderson
Professor of international development, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol

July 30, 2018 Posted by | China, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Legal repercussions continue after two South Carolina nuclear fiascos

1 year after nuclear plants abandoned, fallout continues  https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/year-nuclear-plants-abandoned-fallout-continues-56885294   BY JEFFREY COLLINS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jul 28, 2018 In the 12 muddled months since the abandonment of two South Carolina nuclear reactors that never produced a watt of power, only one thing seems certain: it will take a lot of litigation to untangle the mess.

Courtrooms are where much of the saga some call South Carolina’s nuclear boondoggle will unfold.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and state-owned utility Santee Cooper spent more than $9 billion before abandoning construction on the reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Columbia last year. State and federal authorities are probing the failure, and irate customers and shareholders have filed lawsuits.

“We’re just at the end of the beginning,” said Lynn Teague, vice president of the League of Women Voters in South Carolina who has made protecting ratepayers her goal since noticing things weren’t going right for the projects three years ago.

Customers of SCE&G, a SCANA subsidiary, got a temporary 15 percent rate cut. But even the rate cut isn’t on bills yet. Four months of cuts are supposed to show up in August. SCE&G is asking a federal court to stop it, but a judge hasn’t taken up the request.

There is also a likely showdown ahead between Gov. Henry McMaster and the state Senate about whether the governor’s pick to run the board of state-owned Santee Cooper can start immediately without Senate approval. And there are ongoing criminal investigations of potential wrongdoing.

The complexity in unraveling the mess is in part because the two different utilities involved. SCE&G is privately owned with shareholders able to shoulder the loss . Dominion Energy in Virginia appears to be working toward a merger with SCE&G that is awaiting approval.

Santee Cooper is owned by the state and its holdings include land and lakes as well as the power grid. The utility the chief provider for power for the tinier co-ops that serve some of the most remote areas of South Carolina. The utility’s debt — which includes more than just the billions poured into the failed nuclear reactors — is around $8 billion or roughly equal to the annual state budget.

“We got out the paddles and kept the patient from dying. We did CPR,” Climer said of the past year in the Legislature. “Now we need to nurse him back to health.”

But experts predict whether Santee Cooper is sold or not, rates are going up for its customers. The average Santee Cooper customer pays $130 a month, while SCE&G customers pay some of the highest rates in the nation at $163 a month, based on power usage statstics.

“They had three to four billion of state assets and they go up there and they put money in the hole and now, of course, they’re not going to go under because they have a captive audience,” Condon told lawmakers considering his appointment in April. “But is that fair to all concerned? I think not.”

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Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP . Read his work at https://apnews.com/search/jeffrey%20collins .

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

To July 28 – Climate and nuclear news

On the Australian telly news, I saw English people having a lovely time on Brighton beach, because the weather is so warm.  But I think that there’s more to the story of warm days in the Northern hemisphere. Some of the heatwave effects are not so jolly. Could it possibly have something to do with climate change? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG-GlVSKbJQ

And, by the way, Japan’s heatwave is a problem, now, in 2018. The Tokyo Olympics are planned for exactly the same time of the year, in 2020.

We Are Exceeding Earth’s Carrying Capacity.

Acidification could drastically change marine ecosystems

Global warming means all sorts of trouble for the nuclear industry.

Is nuclear power REALLY a worthwhile method of dealing with climate change?

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – no commercial future? But they make the nuclear industry LOOK viable.

Women of child-bearing age are safer to not work in the nuclear industry.

Electromagnetic radiation from smartphones could be affecting memory performance in teenagers.

ARCTIC CIRCLE COUNTRIES Brutal heat wave brings wildfires across Arctic circle countries.

JAPAN. Japan to deploy large patrol boats to guard nuclear plants.  Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 nuclear bombs. Japan’s biggest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company moving from nuclear power to renewables.

NORTH KOREA. Public opinion being influenced by biased and inaccurate reporting on North Korea.

UK.

CHINA. China’s plan for global nuclear dominance depends on Britain.

USA.

RUSSIA. Russia’s new “doomsday” weapon works by dispersing killer nuclear radiation.

FRANCE. France’s nuclear power stations affected by extreme heat – causing restricted output. Creusot nuclear safety scandal continues with many more anomalies revealed. Further delays, costs escalations, at EDF’s Flamanville European Pressurized Reactor (EPR).

FINLAND. Warming sea water affecting cooling systems in Finland’s nuclear power station

SWITZERLAND.  Switzerland’s Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant cuts    production because of hot weather.

VIETNAM. Why Vietnam dumped its plans for commercial nuclear power.

AUSTRALIA. The death of Australia’s quality news media? – Fairfax gobbled up by Nine.

July 28, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Global warming means all sorts of trouble for the nuclear industry

Hot Weather Spells Trouble For Nuclear Power Plants https://www.npr.org/2018/07/27/632988813/hot-weather-spells-trouble-for-nuclear-power-plants July 27, 2018  Nuclear power plants in Europe have been forced to cut back electricity production because of warmer-than-usual seawater.

Plants in Finland, Sweden and Germany have been affected by a heat wave that has broken records in Scandinavia and the British Isles and exacerbated deadly wildfires along the Mediterranean.

Air temperatures have stubbornly lingered above 90 degrees in many parts of Sweden, Finland and Germany, and water temperatures are abnormally high — 75 degrees or higher in the usually temperate Baltic Sea.

That’s bad news for nuclear power plants, which rely on seawater to cool reactors.

Finland’s Loviisa power plant, located about 65 miles outside Helsinki, first slightly reduced its output on Wednesday. “The situation does not endanger people, [the] environment or the power plant,” its operator, the energy company Fortum, wrote in a statement.

The seawater has not cooled since then, and the plant continued to reduce its output on both Thursday and Friday, confirmed the plant’s chief of operations, Timo Eurasto. “The weather forecast [means] it can continue at least a week. But hopefully not that long,” he said.

Eurasto says customers have not been affected by the relatively small reduction in output, because other power plants are satisfying electricity demand. The power plant produced about 10 percent of Finland’s electricity last year.

The company also cut production at the Loviisa facility in 2010 and 2011, also due to warm water, but Eurasto said this summer’s heatwave has been more severe than previous ones.

Nuclear power stations in Sweden and Germany have also reduced production because of cooling problems, Reuters reported. A spokesperson for Sweden’s nuclear energy regulator told the wire service on Tuesday that the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden had cut energy production “by a few percentage points.”

Cooling issues at nuclear power plants may get worse in the future. Climate change is causing global ocean temperatures to rise and making heat waves more frequent and severe in many parts of the world. A 2011 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists warned that warmer seas could affect the efficiency of nuclear power plants, noting:

“…during times of extreme heat, nuclear power plants operate less efficiently and are dually under the stress of increased electricity demand from air conditioning use. When cooling systems cannot operate, power plants are forced to shut down or reduce output.”

It’s not just warmer oceans that could spell trouble for nuclear power plants. Climate change is also producing more powerful storms and contributing to drought conditions, threatening facilities on coasts with wave and wind damage, and reducing the amount of water available to plants that cool their reactors with fresh water.

 

July 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment