The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

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?

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.


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


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 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

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

Swiss nuclear power plant forced to reduce production as warmer waters in river struggle to cool reactors  The Local, @thelocalswitzer 27 July 2018

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

We Are Exceeding Earth’s Carrying Capacity

Ted Nordhaus Is Wrong: We Are Exceeding Earth’s Carrying Capacity The co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute has a cheery vision of the future. If only that vision were plausible. UNDARK 07.26.2018 / BY   IN HIS ARTICLE, “The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life is Not Fixed,” Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a California-based energy and environment think tank, seeks to enlist readers in his optimistic vision of the future. It’s a future in which there are many more people on the planet and each enjoys a high standard of living, while environmental impacts are reduced. It’s a cheery vision.

If only it were plausible.

Nordhaus’s argument hinges on dismissing the longstanding biological concept of “carrying capacity” — the number of organisms an environment can support without becoming degraded. “Applied to ecology, the concept [of carrying capacity] is problematic,” Nordhaus writes, arguing in a nutshell that the planet’s ability to support human civilization can be, one presumes, infinitely tweaked through a combination of social and physical engineering.

Few actual ecologists, however, would agree. Indeed, the concept of carrying capacity is useful in instance after instance — including modeling the population dynamics of nonhuman species, and in gauging the health of virtually any ecosystem, be it ocean, river, prairie, desert, or forest. While exact population numbers are sometimes difficult to predict on the basis of the carrying capacity concept, it is nevertheless clear that, wherever habitat is degraded, creatures suffer and their numbers decline.The controversy deepens in applying the carrying capacity concept to humans. Nordhaus seems to think we are exceptions to the rules. …..

The core of Nordhaus’ case is that we are now living in a magical society that is immune to the ecological law of gravity. Yes, it is beyond dispute that the modern industrial world has been able to temporarily expand Earth’s carrying capacity for our species. As Nordhaus points out, population has grown dramatically (from less than a billion in 1800 to 7.6 billion today), and so has per capita consumption. No previous society was able to support so many people at such a high level of amenity. If we’ve managed to stretch carrying capacity this much already, why can’t we do so ad infinitum?

To answer the question, it’s first important to understand the basis of our success so far. Science and technology usually glean most of the credit, and they deserve their share. But sheer energy — the bulk of it from fossil fuels — has been at least as important a factor.

With lots of cheap energy, we were able to extract raw materials faster and in greater quantities, transport them further, and transform them through industrial processes into a breathtaking array of goods — including fertilizers, pesticides, and antibiotics, all of which tended to reduce human death rates.

But there was still another essential factor in our success: nature itself. Using science, technology, and cheap energy, we expanded farmlands, chain-sawed forests, exploited fisheries, mined minerals, pumped oil, and flattened mountains for their buried coal. And we did these things in a way that was not remotely sustainable. By harvesting renewable resources faster than they could regrow, by using non-renewable resources that could not be recycled, and by choking environments with industrial wastes, we were borrowing from future generations and from other species.

……… a cottage industry of environmental scientists, led by Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Center and Will Steffen of the Australian National University, has identified nine planetary boundaries that we transgress at our peril: climate change, ocean acidification, biosphere integrity, biochemical flows, land-system change, freshwater use, stratospheric ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosol loading, and the introduction of novel entities into environments.

We are currently exceeding the “safe” marks for four of these boundaries:

Another way of keeping track is the ecological footprint, which measures human demand on nature in terms of the quantity of land and water it takes to support an economy sustainably. The Global Footprint Networkcalculates that humanity is currently exceeding Earth’s sustainable productivity by 60 percent. We do this, again, by drawing down resources that future generations and other species would otherwise use. So, as a result of our actions, Earth’s long-term carrying capacity for humans is actually declining …

DEVISE YOUR own scorecard. What warning signs would you expect to see if we humans were pressing at the limits of global carrying capacity? Resource depletion? Check. Pollution? Check. Dying oceans? Check. Human populations subjected to increasing stress? Double check.

Here’s one more that we probably should be paying more attention to: Wild terrestrial mammals now represent just 4.2 percent of terrestrial mammalian biomass, the balance — 95.8 percent — being livestock and humans. Maybe we could make some inroads on that remaining 4.2 percent, but it’s pretty clear from this single statistic that we humans have already commandeered most of the biosphere…..

July 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | 1 Comment

Heat Wave Has Fueled Natural Disasters Around the World

Crops Are Dying. Forests Are Burning. This Summer’s Heat Wave Has Fueled Natural Disasters Around the World.

Here’s a list of them.

This has been a summer of soaring temperatures and catastrophic fires. It has been so hot all over the world that even the Arctic is getting scorched: Temperatures in Deadhorse, Alaska, which is along the Arctic Coast, reached 80 degrees Wednesday—the average high for July is 56 degrees. And Europe saw its second-hottest June on record.

In fact, June had higher than normal temperatures across the globe. The average temperature worldwide was the fifth-hottest on record for the month, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The ten warmest Junes on record have occurred since 2005.

Scientists have no doubts that climate change is driving the searing temperatures. “There’s no question human influence on climate is playing a huge role in this heatwave,” Myles Allen, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, told the Guardian this week.

Here’s a look at the climate-change-fueled natural disasters taking place across the globe.

United States:


Near Athens, wind-driven fires ripped through the coastline earlier this week, killing 85 people and injuring more than 180 others. Wind speeds reached more than 50 miles per hour, forcing tourists and residents to flee into the sea to escape the fast-moving flames and smoke. Greek authorities said they believe some of the blazes were started intentionally, and the hot and dry conditions from Europe’s heat wave have only made the fires more difficult to control or extinguish.


In the midst of the worst drought in decades, more than 50 wildfires are burning throughout Sweden. Although no injuries or deaths have been reported so far, there appears to be no end in sight. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency warned that the fire risk throughout the country will reach extreme levels as the hot and dry weather persists. Local fire bans are in place, and the agency warned that anyone who causes a fire will be held liable. “At this moment, forest fires must be fought early. A small spark can quickly spread and have serious consequences,” the agency said.


For the first time on record, temperatures in Tokyo reached 104 degrees as an unprecedented heat wave swept through Japan. At least 65 people have died in the last week, and more than 22,000 have been hospitalized with heat stroke. Japanese officials have classified the unending heat a natural disaster. The extreme temperatures are expected to drop soon, but the break will come in the form of Typhoon Jongdari, an equivalent of a Category 1 or 2 hurricane currently expected to hit the coast of Honshu.


Temperatures have hovered over 86 degrees for much of May and June with little rainfall to combat the drought. As potato, wheat, and barley plants wither in the sun, some German farmers are destroying their crops rather than attempting to harvest them. Potato yields could fall by 25 percent, an industry group said, and a shortage of tubers big enough to be processed into French fries appears likely. A German agricultural group said crop failures this year, combined with last year’s low harvest, could bankrupt many farmers.

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

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

Climate change, nuclear power, and the adaptation–mitigation dilemma  NatalieKopytkoaJohnPerkins  


Many policy-makers view nuclear power as a mitigation for climate change. Efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, however, interact with existing and new nuclear power plants, and these installations must contend with dilemmas between adaptation and mitigation. This paper develops five criteria to assess the adaptation–mitigation dilemma on two major points:

(1) the ability of nuclear power to adapt to climate change and

(2) the potential for nuclear power operation to hinder climate change adaptation.

Sea level rise models for nine coastal sites in the United States, a review of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents, and reports from France’s nuclear regulatory agency provided insights into issues that have arisen from sea level rise, shoreline erosion, coastal storms, floods, and heat waves. Applying the criteria to inland and coastal nuclear power plants reveals several weaknesses. Safety stands out as the primary concern at coastal locations, while inland locations encounter greater problems with interrupted operation.

Adapting nuclear power to climate change entails either increased expenses for construction and operation or incurs significant costs to the environment and public health and welfare. Mere absence of greenhouse gas emissions is not sufficient to assess nuclear power as a mitigation for climate change.

Research Highlights

►The adaptation-mitigation criteria reveal nuclear power’s vulnerabilities. ►Climate change adaptation could become too costly at many sites. ►Nuclear power operation jeopardizes climate change adaptation. ►Extreme climate events pose a safety challenge.

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

The Impact of Climate Change on Nuclear Power Supply

Kristin Linnerud*, Torben K. Mideksa** and Gunnar S. Eskeland***

A warmer climate may result in lower thermal efficiency and reduced load—including shutdowns—in thermal power plants. Focusing on nuclear power plants, we use different European datasets and econometric strategies to identify these two supply-side effects. We find that a rise in temperature of 1C reduces the supply of nuclear power by about 0.5% through its effect on thermal efficiency; during droughts and heat waves, the production loss may exceed 2.0% per degree Celsius because power plant cooling systems are constrained by physical laws, regulations and access to cooling water. As climate changes, one must consider measures to protect against and/or to adapt to these impacts.

  1. INTRODUCTION Climate change may affect thermal power plants in two ways. Firstly, increased ambient temperature reduces the efficiency of thermal power plants in turning fuel into electricity (i.e. lowers the ratio of electricity produced to the amount of fuel used in producing it). For example, the difference in sea temperature between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea will play a role in where Turkey builds 10 planned nuclear plants because the efficiency of these plants is negatively related to the temperature of the coolant (Durmayaz and Sogut, 2006).Secondly, at high ambient temperatures, the load of a thermal power plant may be limited by maximum condenser pressure, regulations on maximum allowable temperature for return water or by reduced access to water as a result of droughts. For example, during the 2003 summer heat wave in Europe, more than 30 nuclear power plant units in Europe were forced to shut down or reduce their power production (IAEA 2004; Zebisch et al., 2005; Rebetez et al., 2009; Koch and Vo¨gele, 2009). Our analysis focuses on these two temperature-induced impacts: reduced efficiency and increased frequency of shutdowns.

Although all thermal power plants are exposed to these two impacts, nuclear power plants are especially vulnerable. The average efficiency is lower and the water requirement per electricity output is higher in nuclear power plants compared to most other thermal power plants. More importantly, energy disruptions at nuclear power plants may cause a threat to energy supply security since each nuclear reactor accounts for a considerable amount of power and nuclear reactors are typically located in the same geographical area with access to the same source of cooling water (Vo¨gele, 2010).

The two climate impacts have been addressed in the climate and energy literature. The 4th Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007, p. 556) reported that climate change could have a negative impact on thermal power production since the availability of cooling water may be reduced.

……..Cooling water shortages or regulatory limitations on the increase in water temperature put further restrictions on a nuclear power plant’s operations.8 The temperature of the returned cooling water is most often subject to regulations. The allowable return temperature varies depending on the source of the water, ambient conditions and local regulations. As the temperature of river or sea water rises, the water will be able to absorb less heat before exceeding the maximum allowable temperature limit for return water. In such circumstances, the plant must reduce power production until the return temperature is below the limit.

……Droughts may also reduce plants’ access to cooling water, and plants in drought-prone areas are especially vulnerable to climate change.

In sum, as ambient temperature rises, production of electricity at nuclear power plants may decrease as a result of both efficiency losses and cooling system …….

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

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

They have thus obscured the reality that the fate of the negotiations depends not only North Korean policy but on the willingness of the United States to make changes in its policy toward the DPRK and the Korean Peninsula that past administrations have all been reluctant to make.

These stories also underscore a broader problem with media coverage of the US-North Korean negotiations: a strong underlying bias toward the view that it is futile to negotiate with North Korea. The latest stories have constructed a dark narrative of North Korean deception that is not based on verified facts. If this narrative is not rebutted or corrected, it could shift public opinion—which has been overwhelmingly favorable to negotiations with North Korea—against such a policy.

How the Media Wove a Narrative of North Korean Nuclear Deception 38 North, BY: GARETH PORTER, JULY 26, 2018

Since the June 12 Singapore Summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the US media has woven a misleading narrative that both past and post-summit North Korean actions indicate an intent to deceive the US about its willingness to denuclearize. The so-called intelligence that formed the basis of these stories was fed to reporters by individuals within the administration pushing their own agenda.

The Case of the Secret Uranium Enrichment Sites

In late June and early July, a series of press stories portrayed a North Korean policy of deceiving the United States by keeping what were said to be undeclared uranium enrichment sites secret from the United States. The stories were published just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was preparing for the first meetings with North Korean officials to begin implementing the Singapore Summit Declaration.

The first such story appeared on NBC News on June 29, which reported: Continue reading

July 28, 2018 Posted by | media, North Korea, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change will bring more heat waves

Expect more heat waves due to climate change, experts warn, Jakarta Post, LIN TAYLOR, REUTERS, London | Fri, July 27, 2018    The effects of climate change mean the world can expect higher temperatures and more frequent heat waves, climate experts have warned, with poor communities likely to be worst affected.

Heat is neglected because it is both an invisible and hard-to-document disaster that claims lives largely behind closed doors, they said, and because hot weather does not strike many people as a serious threat.

The warning comes as hot weather has swept the northern hemisphere. Britain has sweltered in a prolonged heat wave, with temperatures set to test national records, the country’s Meteorological Office said…..

Fires have also caused devastation in Greece, Sweden and the United States. In Greece, rescuers are searching scorched land and the coastline for survivors three days after a wildfire destroyed a village outside Athens killing at least 82 people.

Health risks

The past three years were the hottest on record, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization said in March.

The World Health Organization says heat stress, linked to climate change, is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.

Two weeks into Japan’s blistering heat wave, at least 80 people have died and thousands have been rushed to emergency rooms, as officials urged citizens to stay indoors to avoid temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) in some areas.

n a heat wave in May, more than 60 people died in Karachi, Pakistan, when the temperature rose above 40C ( 104F ).

Heat waves are becoming more frequent, and that is likely due to climate change because the global temperature is rising,” Sven Harmeling, head of climate change and resilience policy at aid group CARE International, said by phone.

He said climate change was altering weather patterns, and “we have to prepare for more of these consequences”.

…..Nearly one in three people around the world are already exposed to deadly heat waves, and that will rise to nearly half of people by 2100 even if the world moves aggressively to cut climate-changing emissions, a University of Hawaii study found in 2017.

……About 1.1 billion people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are at risk from a lack of air conditioning to keep them cool as global warming brings more high temperatures, the non-profit Sustainable Energy for All said in a study last week…..

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

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

Small modular reactors have little appeal July 27, 2018, by Paul Brown , London 

The last hope of the nuclear industry for competing with renewables is small modular reactors, but despite political support their future looks bleak.

On both sides of the Atlantic billions of dollars are being poured into developing small modular reactors. But it seems increasingly unlikely that they will ever be commercially viable.

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.

One of the problems for nuclear weapons states is that they need a workforce of highly skilled engineers and scientists, both to maintain their submarine fleets and constantly to update the nuclear warheads, which degrade over time. So maintaining a civil nuclear industry means there is always a large pool of people with the required training.

Although in the past the UK and US governments have both claimed there is no link between civil and military nuclear industries, it is clear that a skills shortage is now a problem.

It seems that both the industry and the two governments have believed SMRs would be able to solve the shortage and also provide electricity at competitive rates, benefitting from the mass production of components in controlled environments and assembling reactors much like flat-pack furniture.

This is now the official blueprint for success – even though there are no prototypes yet to prove the technology works reliably. But even before that happens, there are serious doubts about whether there is a market for these reactors.

Among the most advanced countries on SMR development are the USthe UK  and Canada. Russia has already built SMRs and deployed one of them as a floating power station in the Arctic. But whether this is an economic way of producing power for Russia is not known.

Finding investors

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.

They conclude: “It should be a source of profound concern for all who care about climate change that, for entirely predictable and resolvable reasons, the United States appears set to virtually lose nuclear power, and thus a wedge of reliable and low-carbon energy, over the next few decades.”

Doubts listed

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.

The paper says those countries still keen on buying the technology often have no experience of the nuclear industry. It suggests too that there may be international alarm about nuclear proliferation in some markets. – Climate News Network

July 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Impact of global warming is upon us – now!

Scotsman 26th July 2018 , Mary Church: As much of the country suffers under another week of
sweltering temperatures, Westminster’s Environmental Audit Committee has
issued a stark warning: heat-related deaths will treble by 2050 as a result
of a warming climate.

A shocking 7,000 people will die in the UK each year
from the impacts of heat unless government acts on the dangers of climate
change. The committee’s focus on adaptation in its recommendations
reflects the grim reality that global warming is not some distant threat,
but is happening now, and we must prepare to deal with the consequences of
living in a world made warmer by human actions.

News of a rising death toll from climate disasters around the world that have made the headlines all
too often this summer, from prolonged heatwaves in Canada and Japan, to
flash floods in Laos and Cambodia, and raging wildfires in Greece and
Sweden, help this reality to sink in.

While so far we have escaped some of the worst impacts in Scotland, we are not immune; private water supplies
drying up in Moray and the roof of Glasgow’s Science Centre melting as
the mercury hit a record 31.9C are a small taste of what is to come if we
fail to address the cause of warming.

What we are witnessing now is the
impact of a mere 1C of warming. The impacts of 1.5C, 2C or more will be
far, far worse, with widespread disruption to food production, famine, new
diseases, mass species extinction, sea level rise, the destruction of
livelihoods and even entire countries. And, of course, these impacts will
bring increased political instability, violent conflict and a rise in
climate refugees.

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

China’s plan for global nuclear dominance depends on Britain

China’s long game to dominate nuclear power relies on the UK

Approval of Chinese nuclear technology in the UK would act as a springboard to the rest of the world, Guardian, Adam Vaughan and Lily Kuo in Beijing, 27 Jul 2018

China wants to become a global leader in nuclear power and the UK is crucial to realising its ambitions.

While other countries have scaled back on atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, state-backed Chinese companies benefit from the fact that China is still relying on nuclear energy to reach the country’s low-carbon goals.

“China is going in the opposite direction. The massive experience possessed by the Chinese nuclear industry, consistently building for the past 30 years and adopting various next-generation technologies, is being recognised by the global nuclear industry,” said Zaf Coelho, the director of Asia Nuclear Business Platform, based in Singapore.

The UK, where as many as six new nuclear power stations could be built over the next two decades, is an obvious export target for Chinese nuclear. If state-owned China General Nuclear Power (GNP) – the main player in China’s nuclear industry – buys a 49% stake in the UK’s existing nuclear plants, as it was recently reported to be considering, that would mark a significant expansion of China’s role in the UK nuclear sector.

But the depth of CGN’s existing involvement in UK nuclear may surprise some.

The most high-profile project is the £20bn Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset, which is being built by EDF Energy with a French reactor design but was only made possible by CGN UK’s 33.5% stake to underwrite its daunting finances.

It was that Chinese ownership of a strategic piece of infrastructure that led Theresa May to temporarily halt the signing of the crucial subsidy deal for Hinkley when she became prime minister.

Isabel Hilton, the CEO of, said the UK opening up vital infrastructure to China was without parallel in the western world. “No other OECD country has done this. This is strategic infrastructure, and China is a partner but not an ally in the security sense.

“You are making a 50-year bet, not only that there will be no dispute between the UK and China, but also no dispute between China and one of the UK’s allies. It makes no strategic sense.”

The UK has appeared amenable to Chinese investment, though recently the UK cybersecurity watchdog warned British telecommunications companies against dealing with Chinese tech firm ZTE. One expert acknowledges that security concerns are a potential check to Chinese ambitions.

Zha Daojiong, a professor of non-traditional security studies at Peking University, said: “The question is not whether your nuclear technology is safe or not, it’s a question of politics. To be blunt, most countries think: ‘Anybody but China.’ This kind of thinking is becoming more and more popular among western countries. It’s a serious problem.”

CGN is also drawing up plans for Bradwell B in Essex, where China hopes to showcase its own nuclear reactor technology. CGN UK holds the majority stake (66.5%) in the development company, with EDF in a supporting role. Then there is a third joint venture to get Bradwell’s Chinese reactor design through the UK nuclear regulatory process.

Finally, there is Sizewell C in Suffolk, where EDF wants to build a clone of Hinkley Point C if it can attract enough private investment. CGN holds a 20% share.

While Germany and other western countries have turned their backs on nuclear, the UK is strongly committed to new nuclear to meet its carbon goals and this means, despite security concerns, the government needs Chinese involvement.

Robert Davies, the chief operating officer of CGN UK, said: “The UK is open to investment, and we want to invest in clean energy in this country.”

He is acutely aware of the need for future plants to be cheaper, given criticism over the cost of the EDF subsidy deal. “We understand the cost of electricity has to fall significantly from Hinkley Point,” he said.

But the company is open about the bigger prize – the UK as a springboard for exporting Chinese nuclear technology to other countries.

“For us, the UK is an important stepping stone into Europe. The GDA process [UK regulatory approval] is recognised in the nuclear world as having a lot of clout,” said Davies.

Asked if the UK should be concerned about China owning its nuclear power stations, he said: “We are not surprised and see nothing wrong with governments questioning our rationale for investing in their country.”

For now, the company’s UK footprint is small – just 70 of its 44,000 staff are based here. But his hope is the firm will become viewed “not as an outsider that has come in, but part of the furniture”.

China’s commitment was on show at a recent lavish nuclear industry event in London. No expense was spared on hosting the summit at the prestigious Guildhall building, where the Chinese ambassador to the UK told jokes and argued the case for new nuclear.

Mycle Schneider, a Paris-based nuclear industry analyst, said cost was not an issue for Beijing because the Chinese are playing a long game. “It was clear quite early on there was a strategy to make the UK a platform … A few billion here or there is not the point. It’s about strategic assets.”

But he said CGN still had a lot to learn about how the UK worked. “China does not have any building experience in any countries other than Pakistan, and that is not really comparable to the UK.”

Zhou Dali, a former Chinese energy official, as director of the energy research institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, said: “We are learning how to do business with patience. Because you cannot force others to do something. You can only help.

“We will give more and more information about the technology’s improvements, but the final decision will be made by the UK people and your politicians.”

Additional reporting by Wang Xueying

July 28, 2018 Posted by | China, marketing of nuclear, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

National Infrastructure Commission’s landmark report calls for drastic cut in UK’s nuclear power plans

Building 26th July 2018 , The National Infrastructure Commission’s landmark report this month
seemed to sound the death knell for nuclear energy new-build, calling for a
large-scale shift to renewables by 2050 – and for only one more nuclear
power station approval by 2025. But are we really likely to get 90% of
Britain’s electricity from green sources within a generation? The NIC’s
assessment does not call for the end of all nuclear new-build aspirations.

But the direction of travel is clear: its prediction is that the cost of an
energy system heavily reliant on nuclear will, on current terms, be
marginally more expensive than one powered 80%-90% by other renewables, and
– importantly – that the cost of renewables is much more likely to fall
in future and thus ultimately work out significantly cheaper.

It is only because of all the uncertainties inherent in these predictions that it
recommends continuing with nuclear at all, albeit on a “go slow” basis,
so as not to entirely lose capacity in the industry in case the programme
has to be fired up again.

The assessment says a minimum of 50% and as much
as 90% of UK electricity should come from renewables such as wind and solar
power by 2050. And hence, that no more than one further nuclear reactor
should be given the go-ahead before 2025. This, it says “will allow the
UK to maintain, but not expand, a skills base and supply chain [and] to
pursue a high renewables mix […] without closing off the nuclear
alternative”. This may sound like a nuanced shift, but for those in the
sector it is very radical.

Few outside of environmental lobby groups have
ever proposed a UK electricity generation sector reliant 80%-90% on
renewables before. Richard Lowe, director of power in Aecom’s
environmental division, welcomes the emphasis on renewables but questions
how realistic it is. “Others such as the Committee on Climate Change have
done their own projections as to what is realistic, and I wouldn’t say
this is the midpoint of the range – it’s very much at one end of the

July 28, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, ENERGY, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Prosecuting Julian Assange – a dangerous precedent threatening journalists’ rights

Judges Hear Warning on Prosecution of WikiLeaks  July 24, 2018MARIA DINZEO   NAHEIM, Calif. (CN) – Prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing leaked documents related to the 2016 presidential election would set a terrible precedent for journalists, the top lawyer for The New York Times said Tuesday.

Addressing a room full of federal and circuit judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual judicial conference, David McCraw, the deputy general counsel for The New York Times, explained that regardless of how one feels about Assange and traditional news outlets receiving the same kind of deference over publishing leaked materials, his prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech.

“I think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,” McCraw said. “From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

McCraw went on to clarify that while Assange employs certain methods that he finds discomfiting and irresponsible, such as dumping unredacted documents revealing the personal information of ordinary people, Assange should be afforded the same protections as a traditional journalist.

“Do I wish journalism was practiced in a certain way, like it is with The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal? Of course. But I also think new ways of publishing have their value. Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report,” McCraw said.

“But if someone is in the business of publishing information, I think that whatever privilege happens to apply – whatever extension of the law that would apply – should be there. Because the question isn’t whether he’s a journalist. It’s in that instance was he committing an act of journalism.”

Assange has long considered himself a journalist operating no differently than other news outlets. This has complicated matters, because if Assange can be prosecuted for publishing leaked information, why not prosecute news organizations like The New York Times?

Earlier this month, a grand jury returned an indictment against twelve Russian military spies for hacking into the servers and emails of the Democratic National Committee and state election officials, stealing documents and staging the release of those documents to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. While the indictment did not name Assange and WikiLeaks specifically, it has been widely suggested that WikiLeaks received the materials and could very well be the group referred to in the indictment as “Organization Number 1.”

Barry Pollack, who represents Assange in an ongoing criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, weighed in on the indictment Tuesday.

“If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week,” Pollack said. “He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.

“There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’”

Pollack and McCraw spoke as part of a panel titled “The Law of Leaks,” a session on how the United States has ramped up efforts to prosecute people who have leaked state secrets. Thirteen people have been prosecuted under the first law against leaking state secrets, the Espionage Act of 1917, most under the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump has waged an unprecedented war against the media, taking to Twitter last year to call the media “the enemy of the American people.”  Yet no publisher has ever been indicted over leaks, and both McCraw and Pollack expressed doubts about whether it will happen any time soon.

“Unlike firing off a tweet, bringing a prosecution requires a career professional prosecutor to sign off on the prosecution, so there also is a tremendous check there that doesn’t exist in some of the rhetoric we hear,” Pollack said.

“Prosecutions of journalists would be difficult,” McCraw said. “I think they’d be unpopular, I think they’d be wrong, and I think they’d be unsuccessful. I see this PR campaign against the press as almost an alternative to legal measures.”


July 28, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, media, USA | Leave a comment

Iowa nuclear power station to close in 2020, five years early

Owner of Iowa’s lone nuclear plant plans to shutter it by 2020   Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register July 27, 2018 

NextEra Energy, owner of the Duane Arnold Energy Center, says it will retire Iowa’s lone nuclear plant in late 2020, five years earlier than anticipated.

The Florida-based utility said Alliant Energy, the plant’s largest power user, has agreed to pay NextEra $110 million to shorten its agreement to purchase power from Duane Arnold.

Alliant said it will partially replace the nuclear energy with wind energy from NextEra and expects new energy deals will save Iowa customers nearly $300 million over 21 years, even after the utility pays NextEra to end its contract early.

Alliant Energy’s plan must go through the Iowa Utilities Board for approval. Duane Arnold, which is located near Cedar Rapids, was licensed to operate until 2034. ……..

Bill Cherrier, CEO of Central Iowa Power Cooperative said low-cost natural gas and the declining cost of renewable energy such as wind and solar have created challenges for nuclear power generators.

NextEra said it plans to invest about $650 million in existing and new renewable energy generation in Iowa by the end of 2020. That includes a $250 million investment to repower four wind facilities, providing about 340 megawatts of electricity for Alliant’s Iowa customers.

Repowering these facilities is expected to create 200 new construction jobs, NextEra said, and will extend payments to landowners and tax revenues for local communities for decades.

NextEra said it’s evaluating redevelopment opportunities at Duane Arnold, including the “construction of new solar energy, battery storage or natural gas facilities.”


July 28, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment