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Hot weather continues to cause lower nuclear power production in France

S&P Global 20th Aug 2018 , Delayed reactor returns slash French nuclear availability nearly 9 GW.  Available nuclear power generating capacity in France fell sharply by almost 9 GW after EDF delayed the return of multiple nuclear plants, while high temperatures continued to restrict production at its Saint Alban power station, the operator said. This amounted to a total nuclear output loss of around 2.37 TWh, according to S&P Global Platts calculations.
In updates over the weekend and on Monday, EDF announced plans to delay the return of its 1.31-GW Nogent-1 reactor by more than five weeks to September 19, after initially expecting a two-day outage that started on late Thursday night. Also restarting on September 19 is EDF’s 890-MW Dampierre nuclear unit-1, where production stopped on Saturday. The return of Dampierre-3, with the
same generating capacity on the other hand, was delayed by two days after it was taken off the grid on August 6. The 1.31-GW Golfech-2 reactor, which was taken off the grid for planned outage in May, is now expected to restart on Friday, extending the outage by four days. The restart of both 915-MW Cruas-4 and 1.495-GW Civaux-1, which was scheduled for Tuesday, was set to return on Friday and Saturday, respectively, EDF said.
Environmental issues in France due to high temperatures heating river water, which is used for cooling nuclear reactors, continued to hurt power production at EDF’s St Alban-2 power unit.       https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/082018-delayed-reactor-returns-slash-french-nuclear-availability-nearly-9-gw

August 24, 2018 Posted by | climate change, France, Legal | Leave a comment

Hotter water forces Pilgrim nuclear power plant to half capacity

Wind, tidal conditions force Pilgrim plant to half capacity, http://www.patriotledger.com/news/20180823/wind-tidal-conditions-force-pilgrim-plant-to-half-capacity-  By Joe DiFazio
The Patriot Ledger PLYMOUTH — The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station entered its fourth day at half capacity Thursday due to wind and tidal conditions.

Sea water helps cool the station and the plant’s spokesperson Pat O’Brien said that wind was blowing the warm water that leaves the station over toward the station’s intake.

The reduced power, he said, keeps the water leaving the station cooler.

“We can only take in water at 75 degrees and we reduce power to stay well below that,” said O’Brien.

Neil Sheehan, spokesperson for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that tidal conditions also played a factor in the capacity reduction and pointed out that Cape Cod Bay’s water is generally warmer this time of year.

The power reduction, Sheehan said, should not have any impact on New England’s grid.

ISO New England, the region’s grid operator, said that nuclear power made up one quarter of the system’s fuel Thursday afternoon. New England has one other nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

Pilgrim was offline for 43 days earlier this year to replace a startup transformer, said O’Brien. Winter storms and other repairs also put the station offline for several days.The beleaguered 45-year-old Pilgrim is the only station in the country’s lowest performance category for nuclear power plants due to technical problems and intermittent shutdowns. Pilgrim’s performance triggered additional federal oversight.

The plant is scheduled to go offline June 2019.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Why the UK nuclear renaissance plan is doomed to failure, in 30 pictures and charts

Jeremy Leggett 22nd Aug 2018 , Why the UK nuclear renaissance plan is doomed to failure, in 30 pictures
and charts. Nuclear is ridiculously expensive and utterly uncompetitive  says longstanding nuclear advocate, former IEA boss Nobuaki Tanaka.

For the first time global solar capacity grew faster in 2017 than all nuclear and fossil fuels combined. Jerome Pecresse of GE Renewables said in June “We are inventing things we did not even imagine three years ago … renewable baseload is coming fast.”

The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission has urged the government to ditch nuclear and grab the golden opportunity
to go with cheap solar and wind. EDF is in deep financial trouble.
https://jeremyleggett.net/2018/08/22/why-the-uk-nuclear-renaissance-plan-is-doomed-to-failure-in-30-pictures-and-charts/

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change is upon us now – communities can take action to raise awareness

More than a dozen local environmental groups from coast to coast have organized the Freedom to Breathe Tour, where journalists, activists, and environmental-justice experts will present vulnerable communities with their case for swift and dramatic action on climate change. The 21-day tour, which begins August 25 and will traverse the entirety of the American South and Southwest, will illustrate the current climate realities for communities of color in the nation’s most marginalized places.

“I don’t believe the science is inaccessible,”

August 24, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Director of Cumbria Trust calls on Cumbria County Council to reject nuclear waste dumping in National Parks

Eddie Martin’s letter to the county’s peers https://cumbriatrust.wordpress.com/2018/08/23/eddie-martins-letter-to-the-cumbrian-county-peers/   August 23, 2018by cumbriatrust

CONSERVATION OF THE NATIONAL PARKS

As the former Leader of Cumbria County Council, it was my Cabinet and I who rejected the last search process for a radioactive waste, Geological Disposal Facility in West Cumbria, orchestrated by the MRWS process, for a substantial number of reasons. including:

  1. No statutory, enshrined Right of Withdrawal from the process.

  2. No Sovereign Wealth Fund for Cumbria – in perpetuity.

  3. Plethora of expert opinion against the geology – NOT rebutted by the NDA

  4. No proposals for a Strategic Environmental Assessment

  5. Allerdale ruled out nem con. by all Cabinet Members.

  6. Copeland too small without infringing designated and protected areas.

  7. Significant democratic deficit. No credible local or Cumbria-wide support.

  8. Huge potential for planning blight/property devaluation

  9. Received no commitment to invest in international standards of safe surface or sub surface storage (e.g. Sweden); the ‘twin-track’ approach, in effect.

  10. The adverse findings of the NAO and the highly critical comments by the Public Accounts Committee (Margaret Hodge et al)

  11. But, nonetheless, emphasising the County Council’s total commitment to urgent alternative investment in Sellafield and West Cumbria – not least, the infrastructure, but with no forthcoming guarantees from the government.

Nothing has changed, except for yet another rebranding exercise and a White Paper which seeks to sideline county councils.

I am now writing to you – ahead of the House of Lords debate on 6th September on the “Draft NPS for Geological Disposal Infrastructure” – as a Director of Cumbria Trust(cumbriatrust.org)

The conclusions reached by the House of Commons BEIS Committee on the Draft NPS for Geological Disposal Infrastructure should be a matter of great concern for those who value and respect the National Parks, and for Cumbrians in particular. The failure to exclude designated areas, including AONBs and National Parks, from the search process for geological disposal is both alarming and irrational, in that it demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the protection in law given to these areas.

Major developments can only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that there are no alternative sites available outside the National Park (LDNPA Core Strategy CS12). The fact that other UK sites outside a National Park may not have volunteered is of no relevance. Voluntarism is not a concept recognised by planning law, and as such, should a site within a designated area be selected, there would be a requirement to survey the entire non-designated land area (around 91% of the UK) to demonstrate that no alternative exists. This highlights the absurdity of the failure to exclude designated areas, something which even Nirex understood three decades ago. This is not simply a matter of failing to learn from past mistakes, but of introducing new and significant mistakes as they go along, and Cumbria Trust believes it simply must not go unchallenged.

I would also refer you to the Sandford Principle – Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995 –enjoyment of the National Parks ‘shall be in a manner and by such means as will leave their natural beauty unimpaired for the enjoyment of this and future generations’. You will also be aware that as a World Heritage Site, the Lake District has adopted a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and that its inclusion in a search area will undoubtedly threaten that status, requiring notification to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS.

We would encourage you to speak up strongly for the protection of our designated areas and for Cumbria in particular.

We know from the last process that Ennerdale (specifically the Ennerdale granite intrusion which runs from the shore of Buttermere in the north to Nether Wasdale in the south) was identified by the MRWS geologist, Dr Dearlove, as a potential site for geological disposal, as was a second site (in the Mercia Mudstone Group rocks) near Silloth. If we allow this Draft NPS to proceed unchallenged these areas are likely to find themselves back in the spotlight. If an area such as Copeland volunteers, no test of public support is required until around 20 years into the process, during which time 20-30 deep boreholes will be drilled over the course of a decade. LDNPA planning permission would not be required since they now come under NSIP (Planning Act 2008) legislation.

For all of these reasons, designated areas must be protected and any new search process should exclude them from the beginning. My colleagues and I would urge you to use the debate on 6th September to push for that exclusion. Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Eddie Martin

August 24, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Nevada residents strongly opposing proposed Yucca Mountain dump scheme

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, his State Agency for Nuclear Project’s executive director, Robert Halstead, and other Silver State officials, have recommitted to yet another round of resistance in 2019 to the high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at them since the enactment of the “Screw Nevada bill” of 1987.
With election day 2018 a couple months away, Nevada’s U.S. Senate candidates, Dean Heller (Republican incumbent) and Jacky Rosen (Democratic challenger, currently a U.S. House member from southern Nevada), vie to prove they are the most opposed — and most effectively opposed — to Yucca, in a state where the vast majority of voters oppose the dump. As Judy Treichel of the environmental non-profit Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force wrote in an op-ed to the Las Vegas Suna year and a half ago, “Nevada is the Battle Born state and after 30 years we still say ‘No.'”
 Ian Zabarte Principal Man of the Western Bands of Shoshone Indians, and secretary of the Native Community Action Council (NCAC), has achieved hard won legal standing, in opposition to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing of the Yucca dump, in the biggest proceeding in the agency’s history. (NCAC has also been appointed to the NRC’s Yucca Licensing Support Network Advisory Review Panel.) The 1863 “peace and friendship” Treaty of Ruby Valley, signed by the U.S. government with the Western Shoshone, is clear evidence that the U.S. Department of Energy lacks title to the land and water at the site, so cannot legally proceed with construction and operation of the $100 billion+ dump.
 More than a thousand environmental, and environmental justice, organizations across the U.S., including Beyond Nuclear, have joined the “we do NOT consent!” coalition opposed to the Yucca dump over the past 32 years. Please take action to help block this environmental injustice, targeted at a scientifically unsuitable site, by urging your U.S. Representative, and both your U.S. Senators, to oppose H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, and any other legislation that would speed the dump’s opening, increase how much waste could be buried there, launch unprecedented numbers of Mobile Chernobyl shipments through most states, etc. You can phone your Congress Members’ D.C. offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. To learn more, see our Yucca Mountain website section.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Dumping of Hinkley nuclear’s radioactive mud would break the law

Medium 22nd Aug 2018 , The dumping of radioactive mud would break the law because the project has
had no Environmental Impact Assessment carried out to ensure that the
radioactive mud has been properly assessed as to the risk to the
environment and people’s health!

Without such an assessment it would also
fall foul of Section 4 of the Environment Wales Act 2016 which requires
full consideration of all relevant evidence and gather evidence on
uncertainties, the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 which requires
public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their
decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other and the
Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations
2017.    https://medium.com/@tomstanger/hinkley-c-a-project-literally-stuck-in-the-mud-an-update-a7891d8803de

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Legal, legal, UK | Leave a comment

Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) points out the climate change threats to proposed Bradwell B new nuclear power station

BANNG 22nd Aug 2018 , Fake news has arrived on the shores of the Blackwater estuary!! It takes
the form of the recent, widely distributed CGN/EDF glossy and upbeat
‘Community’ Newsletter, which gives information about what is happening
at the site of the proposed Bradwell B new nuclear power station.

The Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) feels compelled to respond to
this Newsletter, which it considers to be a partial and misleading piece of
smooth ‘nuke speak’ that gives all the upsides and none of the
downsides of a new nuclear power station at Bradwell.

So what does the Newsletter actually tell us? It says ‘The project is at an early
stage’. But nowhere is there the slightest hint that Bradwell B might not
go ahead. In fact, early stage or not, so sure is CGN/EDF of success that
an indicative project timeline is provided, showing that construction
‘begins’ in 5 – 7 years from now. It tells us that comments can be
made on the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process.

But the new Blackwater Nuclear Community might well ask if there is any point in commenting on
this given the obvious confidence of CGN/EDF that the Hualong 1000 reactor,
not yet in use anywhere in the world, will pass the regulators’ tests.

BANNG thinks that there is every point in commenting and would encourage
our fellow residents of the new Blackwater Nuclear Community to do so. If
you find a GDA process difficult to comment on (and who doesn’t?), simply
draw attention to the fact that all the digging of boreholes and marine
surveys cannot disguise the fact that the site is in Flood Zone 3 and,
therefore, totally unsuitable for potentially dangerous new nuclear
reactors.

Words such as ‘flooding’, storm surges’, ‘other coastal
processes’, ‘all predicted to get worse with climate change’,
‘madness’ could be woven into your comments, along with ‘the
Blackwater is a Marine Conservation Zone’ and ‘potential harm to marine
and human life’.

August 24, 2018 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Hitachi makes plans to rein in the ballooning cost of Wylfa nuclear power project

Nikkei Asian Review 23rd Aug 2018 , Japanese industrial group Hitachi seeks to rein in the ballooning cost of
its British nuclear power plant project by naming a manager and clarifying
the roles performed by the company and its partners. U.S. engineering
company Bechtel will serve as a project manager for the proposed Wylfa
Newydd power plant from now on, overseeing design, construction and cost
control, while Hitachi and Japanese plant builder JGC will handle design
and construction, Hitachi said on Wednesday.

Hitachi is building two reactors on the Welsh island of Anglesey through U.K. subsidiary Horizon
Nuclear Power. Before the reorganization of roles, Hitachi, JGC and Bechtel
had been undertaking the project as three-way joint venture. The new
arrangement is designed to let Horizon reduce costs on the Wylfa project by
placing orders directly for turbines and other equipment.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Hitachi-names-Bechtel-as-manager-for-UK-nuclear-project

August 24, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Japan plans to reduce its 47.3 tons of stockpiled plutonium

IPFM 20th Aug 2018 , On 31 July 2018, Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) issued a new
policy paper, The Basic Principles on Japan’s Utilization of Plutonium,
which for the first time, stated that “Japan will reduce the size of its
plutonium stockpile.”
A similar statement was included in the new Strategic
Energy Plan (in Japanese) by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
(METI) that was adopted on 3 July by the Cabinet of the Japanese
government. Japan’s plutonium stockpile, according to the data released by
the JAEC at the same time as the new policy, is about 47.3 tons of
plutonium (as of the end of 2017), of which 36.7 tons is overseas (21.2
tons in UK and 15.5 tons in France) and 10.5 tons in Japan. The Rokkasho
reprocessing plant, with a design separation capacity of 8 tons of
plutonium per year, on which stated construction in 1993, is currently
planned to be completed in 2021. Plans call for the J-MOX plant to be
completed in 2022 to turn this plutonium into MOX fuel for light water
(LWR) nuclear power reactors.
http://fissilematerials.org/blog/2018/08/japans_new_policy_on_its_.html

August 24, 2018 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, - plutonium | Leave a comment

Demolition of Windscale Pile One Stack at Sellafield

Energy Voice 20th Aug 2018, The site of Britain’s worst nuclear accident is to be dismantled as part
of the wider decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear plant. The planned
demolition of the 360 foot structure will begin later this year. A giant
crane has been constructed to bring it down. The 152m crane is the tallest
structure ever built at Sellafield, just six metres shorter than the
Blackpool Tower. It will begin work this autumn, removing and lowering
chunks of the chimney cut out using diamond wire saws. Duncan Thompson, the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Sellafield Programme director, said:
“The complex task of decommissioning and demolishing the Windscale Pile
One Stack has reached an important stage. It is another example of the
ingenuity that goes into solving the UK’s decommissioning problems.
https://www.energyvoice.com/otherenergy/nuclear/179544/watch-sellafield-nuclear-chimney-to-be-demolished/

August 24, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

Pebble-bed nuclear reactors – a safety concern

Experts voice safety concerns about new pebble-bed nuclear reactors  Eurekalert, 23 Aug 18

Researchers advise caution as a commercial-scale nuclear reactor known as HTR-PM prepares to become operational in China. The reactor is a pebble-bed, high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR), a new design that is ostensibly safer but that researchers in the U.S. and Germany warn does not eliminate the possibility of a serious accident. Their commentary, publishing August 23 in the journal Joule, recommends continued research, additional safety measures, and an extended startup phase that would allow for better monitoring.

“There is no reason for any kind of panic, but nuclear technology has risk in any case,” says first author Rainer Moormann, a nuclear safety researcher based in Germany. “A realistic understanding of those risks is essential, especially for operators, and so we urge caution and a spirit of scientific inquiry in the operation of HTR-PM.”

…….the soon-to-be-operational HTR-PM has been built without the safeguards that nuclear reactors in operation today are usually equipped with: it does not have a high-pressure, leak-tight containment structure to serve as a backup in case of an accidental release of radioactive material. It also does not have a redundant active cooling system.

“No reactor is immune to accidents. The absence of core meltdown accidents does not mean that a dangerous event is not possible,” Moormann says. He and his coauthors, Scott Kemp and Ju Li of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that with new technology, there is always a higher chance of user error.  And prototype HTGRs have surprised their operators in the past by forming localized hot spots in the core and unexpectedly high levels of radioactive dust. The pebble-bed design also produces a larger volume of radioactive waste, which is challenging to store or treat……….

Joule, Moormann et al.: “Caution is Necessary in Operating and Managing the Waste of New Pebble-bed Nuclear Reactors” https://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(18)30335-0      https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/cp-evs081618.php

August 24, 2018 Posted by | China, safety, technology | Leave a comment

Finland company looks to China’s lucrative nuclear decommissionig and nuclear waste market

Finnish firms target Chinese radwaste market, WNN, 23 August 2018

Based on expected installed nuclear generating capacity of 50 GWe by 2020, China’s annual used fuel arisings will amount to about 1200 tonnes at that stage, the cumulative total being about 14,000 tonnes then.

“As China becomes increasingly mindful of environmental integrity and reduces its use of fossil fuels, [its] zero-carbon nuclear energy solution requires enhanced focus on radioactive waste management,” the companies said in a joint statement. “Finnish expertise has an important role in disposing of Chinese radioactive waste and building a cleaner future together with shared respect for nature and the environment.”……….Finnish waste management company Posiva – jointly owned by Fortum and TVO – launched Posiva Solutions in June 2016. The business, it said, would “focus on the marketing of the know-how accumulated from the design, research and development efforts in the final disposal of used nuclear fuel, as well as on associated consulting services”. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Finnish-firms-target-Chinese-radwaste-market

August 24, 2018 Posted by | China, Finland, wastes | Leave a comment

Continued safety worries at UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

Further safety fears at nuclear weapons site, Basingstoke GazetteBy Dan Whiteway   23 Aug 18 FURTHER safety concerns have been raised in regards to the running of the UK’s nuclear warhead assembly facility. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has required immediate safety changes to be put in place at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

If sufficient progress is not made on reducing risk at the facility, the ONR has said that operations may need to stop altogether.

There has been a series of announcements related to safety concerns at AWE, including the ONR placing the Aldermaston and Burghfield facilities into special measures. This is the sixth consecutive year that Aldermaston has been in special measures, and the third year in a row for the Burghfield site.

AWE said after being put into special measures, an investigation was undertaken…….http://www.basingstokegazette.co.uk/news/16594315.further-safety-fears-at-nuclear-weapons-site/

August 24, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Trump’s bailout money for coal and nuclear would be better spent on economic development

Redirecting Trump’s Coal and Nuclear Bailout to Fund Economic Redevelopment

Bailout money could be better used to cover gaps in tax revenue, help workers retrain for new jobs, and fuel economic development in affected communities. GreenTe4cyhMedia,  Coal and nuclear facilities are facing a tough economic reality in the United States. Competitive power markets are oversupplied, while natural gas and renewable energy are undercutting coal and nuclear on cost…..

August 24, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment