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US indicts seven Russians for hacking nuclear power firm Westinghouse

 The United States on Thursday indicted seven Russian intelligence officers for conspiring to hack computers and steal data, including attempts to break into the computer networks of the nuclear power company Westinghouse Electric Co. France 24 4 Oct 18The Justice Department said one of the Russian officers performed online reconnaissance and stole log-in credentials of Westinghouse workers, including staff that work at its advanced nuclear reactordevelopment and new reactor technology units.

Westinghouse, which is located outside of Pittsburgh, provides fuel, services and plant design to customers, including Ukraine.

Three of the seven Russian military officers indicted on Thursday were charged in a separate case brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for their role in hacking activities designed to influence the 2016 presidential election……..

In the indictment, prosecutors alleged that one of the Russian officers, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, performed “technical reconnaissance” of the company as early as Nov. 20, 2014, and got access to IP addresses, domains and network ports. The hackers also researched Westinghouse to learn about the company’s employees and their backgrounds in nuclear energy research.

In December, the Justice Department said, Yermakov and his co-conspirators registered a fake domain and website designed to mimic the company’s website and sent phishing emails to at least five employees. Once people clicked on the spoofed domain and provided their log-ins, they were rerouted to the original network.

On other occasions, according to the indictment, the conspirators also sent spearphishing emails to the personal emails of employees at Westinghouse. Two account users clicked on the malicious links.

The indictment does not clearly explain why Westinghouse was targeted or whether the hackers succeeded, and Justice Department officials declined to comment beyond the indictment.

Westinghouse did not immediately respond to a request for comment. https://www.france24.com/en/20181004-us-indicts-russians-hacking-nuclear-company-westinghouse

October 5, 2018 Posted by | legal, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s campaign for power globally via its nuclear reactor exports

Is the global nuclear industry Russia’s latest power play? , Telegraph UK 4 Oct 18   “…….Amid the financial fallout of the West’s attempts at a new nuclear dawn, Russia is quietly building an army of nuclear reactors across the world in an increasingly important power play for a country that has traditionally been powered by fossil fuels.

Kirill Komarov, the first deputy chief executive of Russia’s Rosatom, is also the head of the World Nuclear Association. It is a fitting role for man helping to lead Russia’s global nuclear expansion.

“We are the ultimate leader in the majority of nuclear sectors,” he says, and it is hard to disagree. “In the last 11 years we have commissioned 13 new nuclear plants, which is probably the biggest number in the world even compared to the increase from our Chinese friends.”………

“We are a unique company in that we have activities in all areas of the nuclear business; starting with mining of natural uranium, enrichment fuel fabrication, developing our own nuclear equipment, the construction of nuclear power plants, the decommissioning, waste management… everything,” says Komarov…..

says Tim Yeo, a former Tory MP and the leader of New Nuclear Watch, an industry-backed lobby group.

“They back this up with helpful vendor financing packages, which the Russian government is ready to support where necessary,”………https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/10/04/global-nuclear-industry-russias-latest-power-play/

October 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Concrete degradation at Belgian nuclear reactor – safety regulator to investigate problem

Belgian nuclear agency to investigate reactor problems: expert Daphne Psaledakis,– 4 Oct 18 BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium’s nuclear safety regulator (FANC) will investigate whether Engie’s Belgian subsidiary Electrabel underestimated the concrete degradation at Doel 3 reactor, a senior expert at the agency said on Thursday.

Belgium faces an unprecedented power shortfall ahead of winter, with only one of seven nuclear reactors run by Electrabel scheduled to operate in November. The reactors account for 50 percent of the country’s consumption.

There are signs that warrant a probe into superficial repairs carried out at the plant, Simon Coenen, senior nuclear safety expert at the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, told Reuters in an interview…… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belgium-nuclearpower/belgian-nuclear-agency-to-investigate-reactor-problems-expert-idUSKCN1ME2H3

October 5, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Low river water levels mean restricted nuclear power outlook – France

REFILE-EDF says Meuse river flow could restrict output at Chooz nuclear plant https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N1WK4QZ  PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Electricity production at French utility EDF’s Chooz nuclear power plant could be restricted from Oct. 11 due to the forecast flow of the Meuse river, French electricity grid operator RTE, said on Thursday.

Chooz nuclear power plant in the northeast of the country has an installed capacity of 3,000 megawatts. The plant uses water from the river to cool its two reactors.

“Production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear generating fleet on Chooz production units starting Thursday October 11,” RTE said. It did not give further details.

Low river levels has forced EDF, which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, to curb production at some reactors in recent weeks.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Unplanned nuclear power outages makes France’s electricity output fall

French nuclear output drops to 41 GW on three unplanned outages, S and P Global Platts,- Andreas Franke –Jonathan Fox – 4 Oct 28

HIGHLIGHTS

1.3 GW Belleville-2 in unplanned shutdown overnight

0.9 GW Gravelines-6 also taken offline overnight

0.9 GW Tricastin-2 restart attempt delayed again

London— French nuclear output fell below 41 GW Wednesday morning, with operator EDF listing three unplanned short-term outages with a combined 3 GW capacity, according to grid operator RTE…

some risks remain, with Platts Analytics noting the ongoing shift in the restart of reactors as a key factor.

The improved nuclear outlook in France is offset by a 2.5 GW shortfall in Belgium this winter and the permanent closure of the 1.3 GW Gundremmingen B reactor in Germany, with combined nuclear output across the CWE region for December seen barely above December 2017 levels, Platts Analytics said in its October report.

–Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

–Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@spglobal.com  https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/100318-french-nuclear-output-drops-to-41-gw-on-three-unplanned-outages

 

October 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

New Jersey preparing to bail out uneconomic nuclear power plants

NJ BPU set to move ahead with nuclear subsidy application process, By Daniel J. Munoz, NJBIZ October 4, 2018 The state’s public utilities board is set to begin the process for determining which nuclear power plants should receive ratepayer subsidies to stay afloat.

Known as the zero emissions certificate (ZEC) program, $300 million of subsidies would be paid through an additional surcharge on ratepayers bills, and nuclear power plant operators can apply for a piece of the pie.

The ZEC program was enacted with Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing of Senate Bill 2313 in May.

Thursday evening in Hackensack, the board will hold the first of three public sessions to gather testimony on how it will structure the application process. The board will hold additional hearings in Atlantic City on Oct. 10 and in New Brunswick on Oct. 11.

The BPU is scheduled to unveil the program recipients in April……….

The state’s largest utility, Public Service Enterprise Group, threatened to shut down its South Jersey Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power, if it did not receive the subsidies.

PSEG argued that the plants were losing money and could not stay afloat without the ZEC subsidies.

On Aug. 29, the BPU sent out a letter regarding the ZEC program’s implementation to the state’s largest electric companies: PSEG, Jersey Central Power & Light Co., Rockland Electric Co. and Atlantic City Electric Co. The letter was also sent to the New Jersey Rate Counsel and Butler Power & Light.

But the ZEC program has fallen under disapproval by New Jersey’s environmental activists.

Jeff Tittel, president of the environmental advocacy group the New Jersey Sierra Club, said the program is a subsidy to PSEG and other nuclear plant operators at the expense of ratepayers.

“We need to pass legislation that supports renewable energy like feasible solar and wind projects. Instead, they went ahead with this package that is nothing but greencover for the largest subsidy in state history,” Tittel said in a statement. http://www.njbiz.com/article/20181004/NJBIZ01/181009914/nj-bpu-set-to-move-ahead-with-nuclear-subsidy-application-process

October 5, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Travails of Flamanville nuclear reactor project cast doubt on the future of UK’s Hinkley Point project

Hinkley Point builder feels heat for French reactor failings. EDF has been
rebuked by French safety regulators for failings in the construction of a
prototype reactor in Normandy. Flamanville has been beset by problems and
delays that critics say cast doubt on EDF’s ability to deliver power from
the British plant by 2025, as promised.

The Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, the French nuclear regulator, said yesterday that EDF may need
to carry out more repairs than had been estimated initially on faulty
weldings at the French reactor and ordered it to carry out a wider review
of the quality of materials in the project. The watchdog said that it
believed the company had “failed to properly oversee certain activities” at
Flamanville and had failed in its handling of the welding problems when
they were discovered, taking a year and a half to inform the regulator.

Times 4th Oct 2018 , Flamanville originally was due to start up in 2012, but it has been delayed
repeatedly. This summer, EDF said that the start date had slipped again to
early 2020 as it needed to repair “quality deficiencies” in the welding in
part of the plant that carries steam to the turbines.

The costs of the project are estimated at €10.9 billion, more than three times its
original budget. The company has blamed the welding issues on a contractor
that had signed off on the work despite the failings. It said in July that
it needed to redo 53 weldings at Flamanville, but was confident that a
further ten were fit for service.

However, the watchdog said it was not certain that this was the case and that EDF should “start preparing for
possible repair work on the weldings”. It said that the company had
informed it only early last year, despite identifying the issue in July
2015.

This year the British nuclear regulator raised concerns about poor
quality control checks on EDF’s supply chain for Hinkley Point C and said
that improvements had to be made. Kate Blagojevic, head of energy and
climate at Greenpeace, said: “The French nuclear regulator has given a
pretty damning verdict on EDF’s attempt to build the new nuclear power
station at Flamanville . . . Nothing in the latest statement from the
French nuclear regulator could possibly inspire confidence that Hinkley
will be built on time or budget.”
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/b8a10964-c745-11e8-a4a5-a34bea2c1d04

October 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Campaigners threaten to blockade ships dumping Hinkley radioactive mud

Daily Mail 4th Oct 2018 . People’s flotilla’: Campaigners threaten to blockade ships set to dump
300,000 tons of ‘nuclear mud’ off the British coast claiming it could
contain radioactive particles that cause cancer
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6237877/Campaigners-threaten-blockade-ships-set-dump-300-000-tons-nuclear-mud.html

October 5, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK Government has limited ‘scope’ to directly invest in nuclear

Utility Week 2nd Oct 2018, Government has limited ‘scope’ to directly invest in nuclear. The
government’s scope for directly investing in nuclear projects is limited by
the public finance rules, a government minister has said.
https://utilityweek.co.uk/government-limited-scope-directly-invest-nuclear/

October 5, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment