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Nuclear power vanishing in America, irrelevant to climate action

Nuclear power predicted to ‘virtually disappear’ in the US  Power Technology 5th July 2018 By Scarlett Evans,     Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy have released a report detailing nuclear power’s dwindling significance in the US, stating that it is unlikely to make any noteworthy contributions to the country’s decarbonised energy system over the next few decades.

The report, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of  Science, examined the potential contribution of large, light water nuclear reactors (LWRs) to the US energy system over the next three or four decades…… The researchers also examined whether advanced reactor designs and factory-manufactured smaller light water reactors (known as small modular reactors or SMRs) would play a significant role in US energy markets, being the only other option for the large-scale deployment of nuclear power. The study took several scenarios into account, such as using SMRs as wind or solar back-ups, to desalinate water, produce heat for industrial processes, or serve military bases.

Such scenarios were, however, deemed unlikely by researchers without “dramatic change in the policy environment” or current domestic market. ………
https://www.power-technology.com/news/nuclear-power-predicted-virtually-disappear-us/
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July 7, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

British residents will be locked into very high electricity costs, as govt takes a £16 billion stake in Wylfa nuclear station

London Economic 4th July 2018 After weeks of discussions over the risks of investing in large-scale
energy projects, the British government proposed to become an equal
investment partner in the new Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant. Under a
tripartite financing structure, London is going to take a £16 billion
stake in the plant, signalling that it has learned its lessons from past
failures. Both in Wales and further east in Europe, a public stake plays a
critical role in facilitating large-scale, low carbon energy projects.

Any discussion of the planned Wylfa Newydd project is obliged to give a cursory
nod to Hinkley Point C, the first and only nuclear power station to be
built in the UK since 1995. When complete, Hinkley Point will produce the
most expensive electricity compared to all power stations bar none.
Globally.

The irony is that this is largely due not to the installation
costs (admittedly somewhat higher than competition) but to its financing
model. The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts frets that with
“estimated costs to the consumer having risen five-fold” since the
project’s go-ahead, the deal struck on Hinkley Point locks Brits into
footing the bill for the government’s lack of nous when negotiating the
‘strike price’ for electricity produced at the facility.
https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/opinion/splitting-the-financial-atom-how-public-backing-produces-cheaper-nuclear-power/04/07/

July 7, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Temperature rise could be double what has been predicted

Guardian 6th July 2018 Temperature rises as a result of global warming could eventually be double
what has been projected by climate models, according to an international
team of researchers from 17 countries. Sea levels could also rise by six
metres or more even if the world does meet the 2 degree target of the Paris
accord.

The findings, published last week in Nature Geoscience, were based
on observations of evidence from three warm periods in the past 3.5m years
in which global temperatures were 0.5-2 degrees above the pre-industrial
temperatures of the 19th century.

The researchers say they increase theurgency with which countries need to address their emissions. The
scientists used a range of measurements to piece together the impacts of past climatic changes to examine how a warmer earth would appear once the climate has stabilised.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/06/global-temperature-rises-could-be-double-those-predicted-by-climate-modelling

July 7, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

Scott Pruitt was bad enough as head of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , now replaced by uranium lobbyist

EPA’s new leader lobbied for Colorado uranium company on Bears Ears .  Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday https://durangoherald.com/articles/230585 By Mark Harden As Originally Reported by Colorado Politics, July 6, 2018

The man who will replace Scott Pruitt at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – at least temporarily – is a former lobbyist who represented a Colorado uranium company.

Andrew Wheeler was narrowly confirmed by the Senate as EPA’s deputy administrator in April despite opposition from environmentalists and most Senate Democrats. He will step in as acting administrator on Monday following Thursday’s resignation of Pruitt in the face of a storm of controversy over his conduct in office.

Wheeler, 53, could serve as acting administrator for more than a year without further Senate action.

As NPR’s Rebecca Hersher noted in a March report, Wheeler “has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency” he will now lead.

Between 2009 and this year, Wheeler was a consultant and lobbyist, often representing large energy companies.

Wheeler has worked as a registered lobbyist for, among others, a major uranium mining company – Energy Fuels Resources Inc. – based in Colorado. Last year, the company lobbied to shrink Bears Ears National Monument.

Colorado Public Radio’s Stephanie Wolf reported last December that the Lakewood-based company – also known as Energy Fuels Inc. – “owns a conventional uranium processing mill and a mine just outside the original boundaries of Bears Ears,” and that the company wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior, which runs Bears Ears, “expressing concerns that operations might be disrupted or limited by the monument’s original boundaries.”

Fortune magazine says that “while working as a lobbyist, Wheeler worked, along with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to open part of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument for uranium mining.”

Bears Ears was established in late 2016 by then-President Barack Obama near the end of his term in office. Its original size was 1.35 million acres.

The May 25, 2017, letter to the Interior Department from Mark Chalmers, Energy Fuels’ chief operating officer, says:

“We are concerned that the presence of a new national monument literally adjacent to the privately-owned land acquired specifically for constructing and operating a uranium and vanadium processing facility could affect existing and future mill operations.”

The Washington Post reported last December that:

“Energy Fuels Resources did not just weigh in on national monuments through public-comment letters. It hired a team of lobbyists at (law firm) Faegre Baker Daniels – led by Andrew Wheeler … – to work on the matter and other federal policies affecting the company. It paid the firm $30,000 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, according to federal lobbying records, for work on this and other priorities. The company’s vice president of operations, William Paul Goranson, joined Wheeler and two other lobbyists, including former congresswoman Mary Bono (R-Calif.), to discuss Bears Ears in a July 17 (2017) meeting with two top Zinke advisers.

President Donald Trump, whose administration has been promoting expansion of nuclear energy as a means to produce electricity, last December reduced the size of Bears Ears monument by 85 percent. At the time, Chalmers issued a statement saying the company has “no intention of mining or exploring anywhere within the originally designated (Bears Ears monument).”

Wheeler also has represented Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest power utility, which has invested heavily in renewable energy.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | environment, politics, USA | 2 Comments

Mike Pompeo holds nuclear talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang

Secretary of state predicts ‘productive’ meeting on his third visit, joking: ‘If I come one more time, I will have to pay taxes here’, Guardian, Julian Borger in Washington and Justin McCurry in Tokyo 7 Jul 2018   

Mike Pompeo and a US delegation held talks in Pyongyang with North Korean officials on Friday, in an effort to make progress towards disarmament and improved bilateral relations three weeks after Donald Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un.

The US secretary of state is seeking to persuade the North Korean leadership to take concrete steps that Trump said he was promised in Singapore, including the destruction of a missile engine testing site and the repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean war.

Pompeo is also asking for more substantial steps towards disarmament, reportedly including an inventory of the North Korean arsenal of warheads and missiles.

Mike Pompeo and a US delegation held talks in Pyongyang with North Korean officials on Friday, in an effort to make progress towards disarmament and improved bilateral relations three weeks after Donald Trump’s Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un.

The US secretary of state is seeking to persuade the North Korean leadership to take concrete steps that Trump said he was promised in Singapore, including the destruction of a missile engine testing site and the repatriation of remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean war.

Pompeo is also asking for more substantial steps towards disarmament, reportedly including an inventory of the North Korean arsenal of warheads and missiles.

…….. He is under time pressure to produce results by August, when the US and South Korea were due to hold joint military exercises. Those exercises were cancelled on Trump’s orders in Singapore as an up-front concession. Adding to the pressure, the president has repeatedly claimed that the testing site has already been destroyed, and that the soldiers’ remains have been sent back, neither of which has happened.

Trump has also made extravagant claims about what was agreed in Singapore. At a rally in Montana on Thursday, he claimed: “We signed a wonderful paper saying they’re going to denuclearise their whole thing. It’s going to all happen.”

In a joint statement with Trump, Kim agreed to move towards “complete denuclearisation” but that has been a stock phrase in North Korean rhetoric since 1992 and signifies a vague and long-term process of multilateral disarmament on the Korean peninsula. Since the Singapore meeting, satellite images and intelligence leaks have suggested that North Korea is upgrading critical parts of its nuclear programme

……….. The meeting lasted two hours and 45 minutes and Pompeo then had dinner with his senior aides. The next session is due to start at 9am. It is unclear whether Pompeo will meet Kim Jong-un on this trip.

There were reports before Pompeo began his visit, that he might relax the US demand for complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament (CVID), and settle for mutual confidence-building measures that defused tensions without dismantling the North Korean arsenal.

His spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, denied those reports on Thursday, saying: “Nothing could be further from the truth. Our policy toward North Korea has not changed.

“We are committed to a denuclearised North Korea and Secretary Pompeo looks forward to continuing his consultations with North Korean leaders to follow up on the commitments made at the Singapore summit,” Nauert added……….. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/05/mike-pompeo-north-kroea-visit-pressure-nuclear-progress

 

July 7, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Concern that Iran might abandon nuclear deal, – package will not fully compensate for U.S. sanctions

Germany says Iran package will not fully compensate for U.S. sanctions https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-germany/germany-says-iran-package-will-not-fully-compensate-for-us-sanctions-idUSKBN1JW18T, 6 july 18 

VIENNA (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday world powers would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new U.S. sanctions, but warned Tehran that abandoning its nuclear deal would cause more harm to its economy.

“We will not be able to compensate for everything that arises from companies pulling out of Iran,” Heiko Maas told reporters before a round of talks among the remaining parties to the deal.

He said he did not think this round of talks would end negatively but it was likely more negotiations would be needed on the issue.

Reporting by Francois Murphy; writing by John Irish; editing by Parisa Hafezi

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear reprocessing must end – to stop accumulation of weapons-useful plutonium

Make US-Japanese nuclear cooperation stable again: End reprocessing, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Victor GilinskyHenry Sokolski, June 27, 2018 

In a little-noticed but remarkable statement last week, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono described a key pillar of the Japanese-American alliance—US-Japanese peaceful nuclear cooperation—as “unstable.” His pronouncement comes on the eve of the automatic renewal of the 1988 US-Japan peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement in July and days after US officials privately pressured Tokyo to reduce its vast plutonium holdings (some 45 tons —which translates to nearly 9,000 nuclear bombs’ worth).

The starting point in dealing with this massive plutonium stockpile: Keep it from growing. That means Tokyo needs to freeze plans to open its large Rokkasho reprocessing plant, which can separate eight more tons of plutonium a year.

The United States and Japan got to this awkward spot in the 1970s and ‘80s, when Tokyo insisted it needed plutonium to fuel a future generation of fast breeder reactors and sought permission to extract it from irradiated US-supplied uranium fuel. We had earlier allowed the Euratom countries to do this and so President Reagan, hesitating to distinguish among close allies, relented. As Under Secretary of State Richard T. Kennedy told the Senate in 1982 in explaining blanket approvals for Japan and Euratom, “The US will not inhibit or set back civil reprocessing and breeder reactor development abroad in nations with advanced nuclear programs where it does not constitute a proliferation risk … nations which regard the uses of plutonium as crucial to meeting their future nuclear energy needs.”

The 1988 understanding with Japan was the only US nuclear cooperation agreement with an individual country that granted blanket reprocessing approval for the duration of the agreement (which, with automatic extensions, effectively meant forever). The agreement approved reprocessing for Japan both in British and French reprocessing plants and in any that Japan itself might build. Meanwhile, Japan’s fast breeder development faltered (as did other such breeder programs around the world), and Japan installed no commercial reactors of this type. Because it has a large fleet of nuclear power plants that produce spent nuclear fuel containing plutonium and reprocessing arrangements at home and abroad, Japan has amassed an enormous plutonium stockpile.

The legal basis of this blanket approval was problematic from the start. The General Accounting Office (GAO) told Congress that the agreement was so permissive it violated the strict nonproliferation requirements in Section 131 of the US Atomic Energy Act. For this reason, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged the Reagan administration to renegotiate the agreement, but the administration overrode Congressional opposition.

In Section 131 b 2, the Atomic Energy Act requires that reprocessing of nuclear reactor fuel supplied by the United States, and extraction of plutonium, take place only with US permission and sets forth the standard for granting reprocessing approvals: The secretaries of Energy and State must find that the action “will not result in a significant increase of the risk of proliferation.” The “foremost consideration” in making that finding is whether the United States will have “timely warning,” that is, “well in advance of the time at which the non-nuclear weapon state could transform the diverted material into a nuclear explosive device.”………..

The official justification for allowing nuclear power systems based on plutonium—a fuel that is also a nuclear explosive—argued that they would be subject to IAEA inspections, which are intended to deter diversion of fissile material to military use by providing warning in time to thwart any such diversion. But the IAEA couldn’t do that in the case of separated plutonium, so something had to give. What buckled was the definition of timely warning, which was rationalized to be met if we had sufficient confidence that the recipient of our exports would not build nuclear weapons. Hence, Under Secretary of State Kennedy could speak in 1982 of countries like Japan where nuclear explosive materials do “not constitute a proliferation risk.”

The situation today, though, is radically different. The economic prospects of civilian nuclear power are now generally far less favorable than they were then; the rationale for plutonium-fueled breeder reactors, once widely believed to be the energy source of the future, has essentially evaporated.

There is no longer any reason to twist the plain meaning of the Atomic Energy Act’s requirement for timely warning. It effectively rules out approvals for plutonium separation, and therefore for reprocessing. Whereas one could have once plausibly argued that this would impose a severe cost on Japan, the situation is now completely reversed: If Japan shut down its Rokkasho reprocessing plant, it would now be freed from an outdated policy and would save a great deal of money.

The Rokkasho decision is of course up to Japan. But the United States should make clear where it stands, which it has not yet done. Such a step should be part of an overall US approach to end plutonium separation throughout the world, for which current nuclear power programs have no need. Nonproliferation and economics point in the same direction: no reprocessing provisions in future 123 agreements and urging other countries that sell nuclear material and technology to include such provisions in their agreements. The recent Korean summits emphasizing denuclearization and Secretary Pompeo’s recent stand against reprocessing in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are steps in the right direction. They underline the importance of Japan ending its reprocessing. https://thebulletin.org/2018/06/make-us-japanese-nuclear-cooperation-stable-again-end-reprocessing/

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment

Cancer deaths from radiation due to atomic bomb tests – compensation to families under new Bill

Utahns who say family members died from cancer because of radioactive fallout would be eligible for $150K under new bill  https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2018/07/06/under-bill-compensation/ By Lee Davidson, 6 july 18 

J Truman’s earliest memory is of sitting as a child on his father’s knee in Enterprise, Utah, transfixed by a show in the sky from nuclear-bomb testing in nearby Nevada, including watching pink-gray fallout clouds pass overhead.

“My parents died from cancer,” he says, blaming those radioactive clouds. So Truman, director of Downwinders, Inc., has fought since the 1970s for compensation for victims. A bill by Sen. Orrin Hatch and the late Rep, Wayne Owens in 1990, and expanded in 2000, gave money to victims in 10 southern Utah counties.

Now Truman hails new legislation that proposes finally offering payments to victims in all of Utah — and neighboring states. And payments under the plan would grow from $50,000 for downwind cancer victims to the same $150,000 paid to Nevada Test Site workers. People who received the lower payment could apply to get the additional $100,000.

“Salt Lake County was hit just as hard by fallout” from some nuclear tests as areas in southern Utah that have long qualified for compensation, Truman says. “So was the Uinta Basin,” according to federal fallout studies ordered by the earlier bills.

We need justice. Not ‘just us.’ There must be equal justice for all exposed and sickened,” Truman says. He adds that the $50,000 offered to some through earlier bills “doesn’t even cover the first round of chemo.”

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M., are sponsoring the new legislation — mostly to help victims in their states that had been excluded. No Utah members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors so far.

Similar bills have been introduced for the past eight years with no action, but Crapo managed finally to win a hearing last monthin the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This hearing has been a long time in coming,” Crapo said there.

The senator complains that 20 of the 25 U.S. counties hardest hit by radioactive Iodine-131 were in Idaho and Montana, where residents received no compensation.

His bill would now cover victims of cancers tied to radiation in all of Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Guam (because of Pacific ocean nuclear tests).

Crapo said he’s talked to many Idaho farmers who awoke after a 1952 nuclear test to “find their pastures and orchards covered with a fine white dust. It seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It looked like frost. But it was not cold to touch.” It was fallout, and he said no one warned farmers about its dangers.

Crapo complained that the government has long known, because of studies in Utah, about unexplained clusters of cancer downwind of nuclear tests. “That was 40 years ago. However, there are still a number of those affected who are still waiting for the government to do the right thing and make them eligible for compensation.”

Eltona Henderson, with Idaho Downwinders, testified that her native rural Gem County, Idaho, has been devastated by cancer that she blames on the nuclear tests — and has collected the names of 1,060 cancer victims from there. “Some entire families have been wiped out by cancer, where there was no cancer before the 1950s.”

She added, “It seems that because of the nuclear testing, our ‘Valley of Plenty’ is now ’The Valley of Death…. I have 38 people in my family that have had cancer, 14 have died from the disease,“ adding most did not have lifestyles that otherwise would have increased their likelihood for cancer.

Earlier bills also never compensated victims downwind of the nation’s first Trinity atomic bomb test in New Mexico, which developed the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War

II. Tina Cordova of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders protested that omission at the hearing.

“The radioactive fallout settled on everything. On the soil, in the water, in the air, on the plants, and on the skin of every living thing,” she said. “The New Mexico Downwinders are the collateral damage that resulted from the development and testing of the first atomic bomb.”

Hatch and Owens in earlier decades said a major problem of passing compensation bills was their cost, and Truman said it is also an ongoing problem with new legislation.

Justice Department data show that more than $1 billion has been paid to 21,649 downwiders through the years, “and that’s just covering some rural counties. If bigger urban areas were added, that number could really take off,” Truman said.

When compensation is added in that was paid to workers at the Nevada Test Site and at uranium mines and mills, the U.S. government has paid $2.26 billion in radiation compensation.

Studies have said radiation from nuclear tests hit virtually every county in the nation to some extent. 

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., whose father, former Interior Secretary Stuart Udall, started early lawsuits seeking downwinder compensation in Utah, said paying some but not other victims is a grave injustice. “We must do everything we can now to make sure the many unwilling Cold War victims and their families are compensated.”

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said the new legislation “is about confronting the dark corners of our country and working to bring on the light,” and is about “making sure we do right by people who were wronged when our nation was building up and testing its nuclear arsenal.”

July 7, 2018 Posted by | health, legal, politics | Leave a comment

USA to send f B61 guided nuclear gravity bombs to NATO bases in European countries, including Turkey. 

US to send next-generation nuclear weapons to Turkey: Russian report  http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-to-send-next-generation-nuclear-weapons-to-turkey-russian-report-13407  Nerdun Hacıoğlu – MOSCOW 6 July 18 

Russian state media claimed on July 2 that the United States is preparing to send the next generation of B61 guided nuclear gravity bombs to NATO bases in European countries, including Turkey.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and the U.S. Air Force completed two non-nuclear system qualification flight tests of the B61-12 gravity bomb on June 9 at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, according to a June 29 statement by DOE/NNSA.

The test, which was reportedly the first of its kind, was aimed at extending the B61 bomb’s service life by adapting it to next generation aircraft, including B-2A Spirit Bomber.

“The B61-12 LEP will consolidate and replace the existing B61 bomb variants in the [U.S.] nuclear stockpile. The first production unit is on schedule for completion in fiscal year 2020,” the statement said.

Russia’s state-run RIA news agency claimed on July 2 that the nuclear bomb will also be adapted to the F-35 aircrafts.

“The United States continues to invest in weapons of mass destruction. The NATO bases in Turkey, Germany and Italy will receive the new bombs in 2020,” Russian nuclear expert Alexandr Jilin was quoted as saying by the agency.

The United States has a total of 150 nuclear weapons in five NATO member countries, including Turkey, according to a report on worldwide nuclear arms prepared by the Turkish Parliament in October 2017.

Among those weapons, B61 type bombs are still in the İncirlik air base in the southern Turkish province of Adana.

According to data from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), the number of B61s in Turkey is estimated to be nearly 50.

U.S. officials neither confirm nor deny reports about NATO’s nuclear weapons in Turkey.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French MPs warn of nuclear power safety failings 

 https://www.thelocal.fr/20180706/french-mps-warn-of-nuclear-power-safety-failings news.france@thelocal.com
@thelocalfrance   

A French parliamentary inquiry has flagged up “failings” in the defences of the country’s nuclear power plants, days after activists crashed a drone into a facility to underscore safety concerns.
“When you look for failings you find them, and some are more concerning than others,” said Barbara Pompili, a lawmaker from the governing Republic on the Move party.
France is the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, with 58 reactors providing 75 percent of its electricity.
Environmentalist group Greenpeace has carried out a string of break-ins at nuclear facilities in recent years to prove its claim that they are vulnerable to accidents and terror attacks.

In the latest stunt Tuesday, it flew a drone mocked up as Superman into an ageing plant in Bugey, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) outside the southeastern city of Lyon.
The drone crashed into a building housing a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel, one of the most radioactive areas at the site.
The cross-party commission tasked with looking into nuclear safety spent five months interviewing experts and visiting facilities, including in Japan where they reviewed measures taken after the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The lawmakers said the number of safety incidents in France “has risen steadily”.
They cited in particular last year’s temporary shutdown of the four reactors at a plant in Tricastin in the southeast, seen as prone to flooding in the event of an earthquake, and a blast at a facility at Flamanville in the north.
The report recommended 33 steps to improve nuclear safety, including boosting police numbers at atomic plants and reducing the number of subcontractors in the industry.

We cannot verify’
President Emmanuel Macron has been noncommittal about a pledge by his Socialist predecessor Francois Hollande to drastically reduce the share of nuclear power in France’s energy mix.
Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said in November that meeting Hollande’s targets would be “difficult” and that a rushed move to bolster the share of renewables could jeopardise power supplies.
Anti-nuclear campaigners argue that older plants, like the 39-year-old Bugey facility, were not built to withstand an attack from the likes of the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda.

Greenpeace has said the pools for storing spent fuel are particularly vulnerable.
The parliamentary report demanded that the government provide a timetable for dismantling older plants.
It also questioned the safety of a plan to store nuclear waste deep underground in the northeastern village of Bure and called for the number of subcontractors in the nuclear industry to be kept to a minimum, “to improve control over the operation of the sites”.
State energy utility EDF said the report contained “a number of errors” and said it would respond by mid-July.
The MPs for their part complained that many of the questions they put to the state and EDF went unanswered, with both invoking national security concerns.
“We have the feeling that a lot of work is being done to protect the plants but we cannot verify it,” Pompili said.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Dangerous Levels of Radiation in a Bay near Bulgarian Resort Chernomorets 

https://www.novinite.com/articles/190950/Dangerous+Levels+of+Radiation+in+a+Bay+near+Bulgarian+Resort+Chernomorets July 6, 2018, 

A new warning for dangerous levels of radiation in the Vromos Bay near Chernomorets was issued by the health authorities. In Bulgarian and English, a new plate warns that the sandy strip is dangerous, a BBC report showed.

Radiation contamination is high – in individual areas up to 50 times the norm. However, access to the beach is not prohibited, the risk of using it is the responsibility of the people on holiday.

Ore mined decades ago from the nearby Rosen mine were high in uranium. Part of the waste water is discharged into the bay.

“The difference in the content of radionuclides in the sand and in the soil along the sand strip in relation to this terrain compared to the other terrains we are exploring all along the Black Sea is here between 5 and 50 times.” The life of these radioisotope elements until decay is considerable, it exceeds 90-100 years, “explained Verginia Tsanova – Deputy Director, RZI – Burgas.

The effect of staying for a long time on the sand is not immediate, but it can be seen in years, warn health authorities. Small children also risk swallowing sand.

“It has a carcinogenic effect, and it leads to genetic mutations in the genital cells, from there to the offspring, which is extremely dangerous for young people and for pregnant women,” Tsanova added.

Verginia Tsanova stressed that there is no way to ban the use of the beach. “It’s people’s choice, we just have to warn them,” she said.

The beach is without a concessionaire and is preferred by families with children.

Source: Dnevnik

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Bulgaria, environment | Leave a comment

Frannce govt calls for improvements in the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants

FT 6th July 2018 , A French government commission has called for improvements in the safety of
the country’s nuclear power plants, including their ability to withstand
terrorist attack, putting further pressure on state-backed power utility
EDF.

The parliamentary commission set up to look at the safety and security
of nuclear installations in France said, in a report published on Thursday,
that the fleet remain vulnerable to accident and attack. The report comes
at a time of heightened political pressure for heavily indebted EDF, which
operates France’s nuclear fleet and faces a multi-billion euro bill to
extend the life of ageing plants.

Although an EPR is now coming online in
China, EDF is waiting for its Flamanville plant in France, which is seven
years late and €7bn over budget, to start up. A recently discovered
problem with weldings has increased uncertainty. EDF’s EPR projects in
Finland and at Hinkley Point, south-west England, are also running late and
over budget.

According to the parliamentary report, the NGO Greenpeace has,
over the last 30 years, “conducted 14 intrusion attempts in order to
demonstrate the vulnerability” of the French nuclear sites. The commission
put forward 33 suggestions to improve the situation – including reducing
reliance on subcontractors, putting more police on the ground at nuclear
sites, reconsidering waste disposal methods, being clearer on the timeline
for shutting down plants and strengthening the powers of the French nuclear
regulator, the ASN.
https://www.ft.com/content/347980d2-8067-11e8-bc55-50daf11b720d

July 7, 2018 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

How can the UK govt fund the Hinkley c nuclear power project?

DieterHelm 12th June 2018 Dieter Helm: If the government decides to invest in further nuclear power
station projects, it should obviously try to do so at minimum cost. The
Secretary of State, Greg Clark, has suggested that one option might be to
develop a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model. Is this concept fit for the
nuclear purposes? How does it compare with the other two options currently
under consideration – direct investment and financial guarantees, and the
Hinkley-style CfD approach. (No assumption is made here as to whether
nuclear projects should be proceeded with: it is about the best means, not
the end).

The RAB approach is in a first best world probably inferior to
the direct procurement route, but the latter is ruled out by the Treasury
imposed constraints. The RAB model is a second best, but much better than
the Hinkley style contract.

None of these approaches leads to the conclusion that nuclear is either necessary or desirable to meet the twin
objectives of security of supply and decarbonisation, though it would
contribute to both. No smart contracting and regulating framework can magic
away the deep challenges that nuclear faces, notably: the possibility that
in the next 60 years much cheaper new low carbon technologies may become
available, possibly including new nuclear ones too; the very large upfront
and sunk costs; the risk and the safety regulation; and the challenges of
getting rid of the waste. It is for society to decide whether it wants new
nuclear or not. The market cannot decide. If that decision is to proceed,
the RAB model is both plausible and preferable to the Hinkley model.

http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/energy/energy/the-nuclear-rab-model/

July 7, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Flamanville EPR nuclear power station – delay after delay

Les Echos 4th July 2018 , EDF anticipates “a few months” of delay on the site of the nuclear reactor
Norman, because of the problems of welding announced in April. The weld
problems of the Flamanville EPR announced in April will have an “impact” on
the date of commissioning of the nuclear reactor under construction, said
Wednesday EDF. Until then, the electrician only mentioned a possible
“additional” delay.

“What we do know is that there will be an impact on the
project schedule. On the other hand, it is much too early to characterize
it, “said Bertrand Michoud, the site’s development director, reviewing
welding problems at a local information committee gathering industrialists,
the safety authority. (ASN), local elected representatives, unions and
associations, next to Flamanville (Manche). “The order of magnitude is a
few months,”

Since 2015, EDF has posted a start-up schedule at the end of
2018 for commercial commissioning in 2019, seven years late. “A few months”
of additional delay, “yes, it seems credible,” said the head of the EPR
pole at ASN Normandy, Eric Zelnio, interviewed by AFP after the meeting.
According to the ASN, the delivery of the fuel, which was to take place
this summer, is postponed, but could occur before the end of the year.
https://www.lesechos.fr/industrie-services/energie-environnement/0301925564230-epr-de-flamanville-edf-reconnait-un-retard-supplementaire-2189804.php

July 7, 2018 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Beatrice Fihn explains why nuclear weapons are a scam

 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. By Elisabeth Eaves, July 5, 2018  A year ago, a majority of the world’s countries—122 of them—voted to enact a treaty with the highly ambitious goal of abolishing nuclear weapons entirely. To the treaty’s critics, it wasn’t so much ambitious as foolish, counterproductive, or irrelevant. But proponents and critics alike can at least agree that it was unprecedented. While the community of nations had banned other weapons designed to mass-murder civilians with little controversy—with the Biological Weapons Convention in 1975 and the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997—until 2017, would-be nuke-launchers were free of such inconveniences. Yes, Russia and the United States had downsized their stockpiles under bilateral deals, and there existed an agreement that supposedly committed nuclear and non-nuclear states alike to work toward disarmament, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970. But by last year, Moscow and Washington were expensively updating their atomic arsenals, and no one seemed to be treating that disarmament clause very seriously.

The global movement for an outright ban on nuclear weapons coalesced around 2010 with rumblings from parties typically voiceless in nuclear negotiations: Survivors of nuclear weapons and testing, plus civilians from all over who observed that any nuclear conflagration would kill and injure millions of people who had nothing to do with whatever sparked it. Which struck them as unfair, and worth fixing. But these rumblings might not have fused into the powerful movement they became without the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the consortium of organizations that led the drive to create the new ban treaty. And ICAN wouldn’t be the same without Beatrice Fihn, the 35-year-old Swede who has led the organization since 2013, and accepted last year’s Nobel Peace Prize on its behalf. Fihn played an important role in rallying those 122 countries, even as the United States, Britain, and other nuclear-armed governments pressured allies and small nations to vote “no.”

On a recent Monday night, Fihn spoke to the Bulletin by telephone from Geneva after putting her children to bed. It had been a period of whiplash for anyone following nuclear affairs. The United States had just pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal under, even though Iran was complying with its terms. And after trading nuclear threats, the leaders of the United States and North Korea were about to meet for a summit in Singapore. Not that things were exactly boring before that, what with North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and other countries’ nuclear-weapons modernization programs. “It’s been crazy the last two years,” Fihn said.

She is the first to acknowledge that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the TPNW, or simply the “ban treaty”) has now entered a more plodding phase. After all the high-profile excitement of UN negotiations, the diplomats went home and national governments set about signing and ratifying the treaty. It cannot enter into force until 50 nations have ratified; so far 59 have signed and only 10 have ratified. She is not discouraged—“parliaments don’t work that fast,” she says—and fully expects entry into force by September, 2019.

In this interview, Fihn shares her thoughts on why the United States really pulled out of the Iran deal, how Trump and Kim have shifted global attitudes to nuclear weapons, the responsibilities of “umbrella states” who accept Washington’s nuclear protection, and the ultimate impact she expects the new ban treaty to have. We need to solve the nuclear weapon problem, she believes, because we have even “bigger things” coming up: fully autonomous weapons and artificial intelligence. ……..https://thebulletin.org/2018/07/beatrice-fihn-explains-why-nuclear-weapons-are-a-scam/?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=Bulletin%20newsletter&utm_campaign=July6

July 7, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment